Inter midfielder Nainggolan returns to Cagliari on loan

By Daniel Lewis 31 December 2020 11
Inter midfielder Nainggolan returns to Cagliari on loan

Inter midfielder Radja Nainggolan has returned to Cagliari on loan for the remainder of the 2020-21 Serie A campaign.

The 32-year-old has featured just five times for Inter in all competitions this term, each of those appearances coming from the bench.

He spent the duration of last season on loan at Cagliari, where he also played for four years earlier in his career, and has now returned to the Sardegna Arena.

In fact, since the start of the previous decade, no foreign player has played more times for the club in Serie A than the former Belgium international, who has made 157 appearances in Italy's top flight.

Cagliari confirmed the loan signing – which is not thought to contain the option of a permanent deal at the end of the campaign – on their official website on Thursday.

Nainggolan's time on the field in the first half of the campaign totalled just 43 minutes and the former Belgium international is now looking forward to playing regularly again.

"I'm happy to be here," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I want to rediscover the joy of playing football that was taken away from me in this first part of the year.

"The team is strong and competitive and with many promising young players.

"I've read many things but I can say I'm intact and can't wait to play. Will I stay permanently? I'm being moved left and right, so let's see."

Nainggolan, who scored six goals and provided seven assists in 26 league appearances last term, may only have played four times in Serie A this season but he made his impact felt.

No Inter player has attempted more passes per 90 minutes than the former Roma man's 85.5, with Andrea Ranocchia (81.14) and Marcelo Brozovic (80.41) next on the list.

He also tops the metric for the number of passes in the opposition half per 90 minutes (67.5), an average of 54 of those being successful, significantly more than Brozovic's 40.26.

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