Cagliari boss Rolando Maran admits he has been ‘left stunned’ by ‘beast’ and new vice-captain Radja Nainggolan.

Nainggolan returned to Cagliari from Inter as one of three players to bolster their midfield, alongside Marko Rog and Nahitan Nandez, after Nicolo Barella left for the Nerazzurri.

“We need to pass on our work ethic to the new players,” Maran told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Things went wrong at Udinese on the final day of last season. We’d have finished 10th if we won, in a position that would’ve rewarded our sacrifices and commitment.

“Continuity, values and commitment are worth double here. The club are moving towards 100 years of existence and 50 since their last Scudetto, so it would be foolish not to capitalise on our sense of belonging and values.

“The sporting director [Marcello] Carli and President Giulini pulled off some real coups.

“Rog, Nandez and Nainggolan are the players we wanted. Rog is here to turn play over and give us some thrust. He’ll be one of our engines.

“Nandez impressed me with his tenacity and positivity. As for Nainggolan, I knew what he could offer, but seeing him in training has left me stunned.

“He’s a beast with football in his head. He can do everything very well. He and Joao Pedro are vice-captains.”

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