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Nainggolan moves from Inter to old club Cagliari

SSC Napoli v FC Internazionale - Serie A

NAPLES, ITALY - MAY 19: Radja Nainggolan of FC Internazionale stands disappointed during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and FC Internazionale at Stadio San Paolo on May 19, 2019 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

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Former Inter and Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has joined his old club Cagliari, returning to Sardegna Arena for the first time since he left for Roma in January of 2014.

While reports indicate that Inter manager Antonio Conte told the 31-year-old he was no longer wanted, the move to Cagliari came as a bit of a surprise. However, it seems there is some personal motivation behind Nainggolan’s decision to rejoin his old club.

Nainggolan’s wife Claudia Lau is set to undergo chemotherapy as she battles cancer, and she is originally from Cagliari. Therefore, it makes sense as Nainggolan refers to Cagliari as “home” in his announcement of the move.

“It was not hard to choose Cagliari although I did have other offers,” Nainggolan said in the official announcement. “I spoke with some other managers but it was right to come back here and I must first thank the president. After our first call, he completely convinced me right away, he made promises and he has kept them. Things have gone the way I would have liked them to have gone and it was easy to reach an agreement.”

The Belgian midfielder played 29 times for Inter in his lone season with the club, making 22 stars and earning a consistent place in the lineup over the second half of the season. However, with Conte taking over this summer for Luciano Spalletti, Nainggolan’s spot in the center of the pitch has been compromised, pushed out by the likes of Matias Vecino, Roberto Gagliardini, Marcelo Brozovic, Borja Valero, and others in a crowded Inter midfield.

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