Radja Nainggolan, known as the ‘Ninja’, was born in Antwerp, Belgium to a father of Indonesian origin and a Belgian mother. After starting his football career in Germinal Beerschot’s youth system, he transferred to Piacenza in 2005 where, after an initial period with the Primavera, he earned a starting role with the first team.
Giuseppe Iachini gave him his professional debut in the Serie B on May 28, 2006 in the final game of the season against Arezzo, with Radja coming on in the 74th minute. In 2008, Stefano Pioli took over the helm at the club, and the youngster continued to perform well, especially in terms of the personality he exhibited on the field.
Cagliari were the quickest to notice his quality and win his signature in the January transfer market of 2010. Nainggolan truly came into his own in Sardinia, racking up 131 appearances and scoring 7 goals. After impressing in Italy, Radja was called up to the Belgian national team on May 29, 2009 in a Kirin Cup match against Chile.
He notched his first Serie A goal on October 31, 2010 against Bologna; a stunning volley that left the goalkeeper helpless. Roma got a taste of his footballing prowess at the Stadio Olimpico on February 1, 2013; the Sardinians won 4-2, and it was the Belgian who opened the scoring. Thankfully, Giallorossi fans no longer had to worry about Nainggolan scoring against their team, as Radja made the switch to AS Roma in January 2014.Show More Show Less