Inter midfielder Nainggolan returns to Cagliari on loan

AP , Monday 5 Aug 2019

Radja Nainggolan
Sept. 18, 2018 file photo, Tottenham defender Eric Dier, right, vies for the ball with Inter midfielder Radja Nainggolan during the Champions League, group B soccer match between Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur, at the Milan San Siro Stadium, Italy.(AP)

Inter Milan midfielder Radja Nainggolan has officially returned to Cagliari on loan, following a disappointing season with the Nerazzurri.

Cagliari announced the season-long loan deal on Monday.

Nainggolan made 137 appearances for Cagliari between 2010 and 2014 and was a firm fans' favorite. More than 300 fans turned up at the airport on Saturday to welcome the 31-year-old back.

In a video on Cagliari's Twitter account, titled ''Ninja is back ,'' Nainggolan says: ''My heart belongs to Cagliari, to Sardinia, to the Rossoblu family. With this shirt on my back, I grew, I fought and I suffered. And now I'm ready for new battles. I've come back home, my home.''

Nainggolan left Cagliari for Roma, where he spent four and a half years before joining Inter last summer for a fee worth around 38 million euros (then $44.3 million).

However, Nainggolan performed way below expectations. He also struggled with injury problems and was banned for a match in December after repeatedly turning up late for training.

Nainggolan underwent a strict training regime at the start of the year to lose weight and regain full fitness and there were flashes of the scintillating talent he displayed so often at Roma, but the Belgian midfielder was deemed surplus to requirements by new coach Antonio Conte.

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