Radja Nainggolan revealed he was lucky not to be caught up in Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels.
The Belgium international would have been at the city’s airport in Zaventem – where two bombs were detonated along with one on the metro, killing 34 people – had he not had his plans altered due to a sponsorship event.
Nainggolan was saddened to see his country targeted and is waiting to see what happens to Belgium’s scheduled friendly against Portugal, which is due to take place in Brussels on March 29, after training was cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“If I didn’t have a commitment with my sponsor, I could have been at Zaventem airport that morning,” the 27-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Because of the event I had to go to, I arrived in Belgium a day earlier, but in Antwerp. Otherwise, I would have taken an early morning flight from Rome and I would have landed directly in Brussels.
“Everything changed. The coach told us that the afternoon training session would be skipped and the camp would be delayed until further notice. So now we don’t know what to do. Is our match with Portugal going to be cancelled?
“I have so many friends who work at the airport. I hope that they are all alright because here I can’t talk to anyone. I don’t even know the names of the victims, I hope everything is OK.”
#tousensemble , our thoughts are with the victims. Football is not important today. Training cancelled.
— BelgianRedDevils (@BelRedDevils) March 22, 2016
Roma midfielder Nainggolan hopes the latest atrocities will not force Euro 2016 to be played behind closed doors.
“It would be sad,” he said. “That must be a global event, seen and followed by all.
“With empty stadiums it would not be the same thing – it would not send a message of peace.”
— Radja Nainggolan (@OfficialRadja) March 22, 2016