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Soccer: Nainggolan talks up Roma's title bid

Arrival of Belgian midfielder seen as proof of club's ambition

10 January, 18:48
Soccer: Nainggolan talks up Roma's title bid (By Paul Virgo) (ANSA) - Rome, January 10 - AS Roma's new signing Radja Nainggolan said Friday that his new club still had a good chance of winning the Serie A title despite falling eight points behind leaders Juventus when they lost 3-0 in Turin on Sunday.

The Rome side, who are second in Serie A, had to beat off competition from AC Milan and Napoli to sign the Belgian midfielder this week and the move has been seen as a sign that they still have ambitions of winning the championship.

"In my opinion the title race is wide open," the 25-year-old, who has moved from Cagliari on loan until the end of the season with an option for a permanent move until June 2018, said at his presentation as a Roma player on Friday.

"There are eight points and the home game against Juve (later in the season). "We can't talk too much, but we have to keep believing until the end".

Nainggolan helped Roma beat Sampdoria 1-0 in an Italian Cup tie in his debut on Thursday to set up a quarter-final encounter with Juventus, who are seeking to win their third consecutive Serie A title this season.

Three-time Italian champions Roma made some room in their squad by selling United States midfielder Michael Bradley to Major League Soccer side Toronto on Thursday.

Nainggolan, who has four Belgium caps, has an Indonesian father.

He has been nicknamed 'ninja' by fans due to his Asian roots and fighting spirit on the field.

He is a versatile midfielder who can play in the center of pitch, shielding the defense, or be used effectively closer to the attack.

"Roma already tried to sign me last year, as did other teams, but I think the Giallorossi's project is the best one for me," added Nainggolan.

"That's why I chose to wear this jersey. It's really important to play for this team because they made an investment in me. "I'll repay them for their trust with my performances on the field".

Roma coach Rudi Garcia said he was excited about the reinforcement. "I can say that we'll be a stronger team with Radja," said Garcia.

"He's not just a signing for the second half of this season but he's one for the future too.

"We hope to be playing in Europe next year so having another quality option is a good thing.

"He can play in all three midfield slots. He's an all-rounder".

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