Belgium manager Marc Wilmot has revealed to Goal that Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan is so hooked on smoking that his temporary accommodation in the Euros requires a smoking balcony, otherwise the player would trash his room in a nicotine-induced frenzy.
Wilmot said, “Yes, Radja smokes. It’s a habit and a lot of people do it in France and Italy. I am not going to stop him if that’s what he needs. I am flexible when it comes to matters like this.
“It’s his body. I’m fine with it so long as he performs out there on the pitch. I always make sure he gets a room with a balcony, so he does not set off the smoke alarm.
“I think he is the only one at the Belgium national team who smokes. I reckon he would trash his room if we forbade him to smoke five or six cigarettes per day. It’s his problem if this means he will have to retire at 30 rather than at 35.”
The Chelsea target has caused a potential headache for incoming Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, who might wish to reconsider the transfer interest in the player given that Nainggolan has a habit that could reduce his professional football career.
Smoking is a taboo in any professional sport, but it still happens sometimes. What Conte will be considering is whether he should fork out big money for a player that has full lung capacity instead.
With the improved focus on sports nutrition focus in recent years and the tight regulations that English clubs like Chelsea put on diet, fitness and sports psychology, it seems that Belgium manager Marc Wilmot has cut the lifespan of Nainngolan’s professional career for him.