Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has revealed his reasoning for his "hatred" of Juventus, despite admitting they are the best side in Italy.
In an interview with Il Romanista (via Football Italia), the Belgian has claimed his resentment for the Turin outfit has come about due to the perceived preferential treatment they receive from referees.
“Are Juventus still unlikeable and have I ever regretted any of my statements? Never, I say what I think," Nainggolan said. "It all started from my days at Cagliari, I saw certain attitudes to referees on the pitch and the referees seemed to be influenced by them.
“When that happened in a match [against Juve], they were given two penalties outside the box. I said that it was always the same with them, it never changes. And Juventus attacked me. I only gave my opinion. When you score against Juventus, you enjoy the celebration."
The combative midfielder went on to clarify that despite his belief that the Bianconeri are the best Italian side around at present, other teams in Serie A are now catching them up.
“Is the quality of Italian football still the same? The level of competitiveness has risen,” he continued. “In my opinion, there will be more balance. There are better teams now.
“Are Juventus always the favourites? Of course. Their 3-0 defeat to Barcelona was bad, but they’re still the best. I also put Napoli near them. We’re also there."
Roma have made a mixed start to the new league campaign, winning two out of their three opening fixtures, with a 3-1 loss coming against Inter Milan at home in game-week two.
Nainggolan will be hoping that his side can usurp Juve at the top of the table this season, having finished four points off the champions in second place last year.