Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan is a top-class player but his Indonesian heritage adds to the appeal for Manchester United’s marketing department, writes Adam Bate.
Manchester United’s global appeal is extraordinary and that is seldom more apparent than in Indonesia. A club-commissioned study once calculated that they have as many as 54.5 million supporters in the country.
Indeed, the official United supporters’ club in Indonesia boasts almost one million Twitter followers and is the largest group anywhere in the world.
So it is fair to say that the reports linking Radja Nainggolan with a summer move to Old Trafford have caused something of a stir on the streets of Jakarta and beyond. The Roma midfielder may be a Belgium international but there is more to his heritage than that. Nainggolan’s father Marianus is from Indonesia, a fact that the player takes great pride in.
„I grew up with the desire to discover the great culture of these two very different countries,“ said Nainggolan last year. Although born in Antwerp and unable to speak the language, his appetite to discover more about his Indonesian history has only increased in recent years. His visits have become a regular event.
When Roma decided to play an exhibition match in the country, declaring July 24, 2015 as AS Roma Indonesia Day, Nainggolan predictably played a prominent role. Naturally, he was the player put up for the press conference. When the game did take place, one team was captained by club legend Francesco Totti and the other by Nainggolan.
Notably, there was also an invited appearance for the Jakarta All Stars against an Indonesia Under-23 team – the organisers readily admitting that Nainggolan’s involvement was designed to boost interest in the game. His social media accounts often make reference to his Indonesian fans and he has even expressed a desire to settle in the country one day.
„Radja has Indonesian blood and is very popular here, especially in his motherland which is in the Batak region of Sumatra,“ a social media spokesman for Manchester United’s biggest supporters’ club in the country, United Indonesia, tells Sky Sports. So the prospect of the nation’s most popular player joining its most popular club is an exciting one.
„If Manchester United signed him, maybe Roma fans will love United instead just because of Radja,“ he adds. „Support for United will only increase and his replica shirt would sell more than any other player.“ It is a passion that extends well beyond sport too. „If he decided to come home the Indonesia people would probably elect him as a president.“
None of which will be enough to sway United boss Jose Mourinho in terms of his transfer preferences this summer, of course. If Nemanja Matic is deemed to be the better option to help the club add to the three trophies that they picked up in Mourinho’s first season in charge then there is no suggestion at all that Nainggolan would be preferred.
However, it would be naïve to think those in the marketing department will be oblivious to the possibilities that could lie ahead. After all, this is a club that agreed a deal in January of last year to have an official isotonic drinks partner in Indonesia. Exploiting their vast supporter base in the country has become a growing priority in this global age.
A tour of the country was planned in 2009 with tickets selling out quickly only for a bomb to kill nine people in the hotel that the players were planning to stay at and the visit being abandoned. Since then, supporters have had to make do with a ‘Legends’ match – Michael Owen captaining a United side against Indonesia Red in 2013. But the plans continue.
In March, the club arranged a fan event in Jakarta for the team’s Premier League game against Middlesbrough with former players Denis Irwin and David May travelling to the country to help promote the occasion. „We are very pleased to be back in Jakarta to connect with our loyal fans,“ said Richard Arnold, the club’s group managing director.
„Previous fan events hosted by Manchester United in Jakarta have attracted over ten thousand fans and we are always grateful for the phenomenal support of our Indonesian supporters. Due to the tremendous support and demand from our fans in the region, we are returning with an even bigger event.“
Ultimately, 3,500 supporters congregated to watch United see off Middlesbrough 3-1 at the Riverside Stadium. The goals came from Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and Antonio Valencia. If United could count Radja Nainggolan among their goalscorers next season then expect the number of fans in attendance at the next event to be rather bigger than that.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
Our fantastic Euro Soccer accumulator offer gives you the chance to earn a bonus of up to 100% on accumulators on the top domestic leagues in Europe along with the group and knockout stages of the Champions League.
This offer applies to returns on pre-match accumulators of 3 or more selections on Full Time Result or Result/Both Teams To Score markets for the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish Primera Liga, German Bundesliga 1 or UEFA Champions League.
The maximum bonus that you can receive is €100,000 or currency equivalent. The bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based .on the remaining active stake. If a qualifying bet is edited .using our Edit Bet feature. The bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply. Double Chance bets or combination bets with bonuses. Such as Lucky 15’s or Lucky .31’s do not apply for this offer.
If your bet is successful, we will add the following bonuses to your returns:
Bet Type Bonus
14-folds and upwards 100% bonus
Terms and Conditions
Applies to straight pre-match accumulator bets on the Full Time Result or Result/Both Teams To Score markets for UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish Primera Liga, German Bundesliga .1 or Australian A-League matches. Maximum bonus €100,000 or currency equivalent. Soccer Accumulator Bonus does not apply to Double Chance bets or combination. bets with bonuses such as Lucky 15’s, Lucky 31’s etc.
If any selections are postponed/void then the bonus will still apply, but the percentage bonus added will reflect the actual number of winning selections. For example, an 8-fold accumulator with 7. winners and 1 postponed match will receive a 30% .bonus to returns.
The bonus part of your returns will be added to your account within 24 hours of your final selection having played.
This bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based on the remaining active stake.
If a qualifying bet is edited using our Edit Bet feature, the bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply.
Where any term of the offer or promotion is breached or there is any evidence of a series of bets placed by a customer or group of customers, which due to a deposit bonus, enhanced payments, free bets, risk free bets or any other promotional offer results in guaranteed customer profits irrespective of the outcome, whether individually or as part of a group, bet365 reserves the right to reclaim the bonus element of such offers and in their absolute discretion either settle bets at the correct odds, void the free and risk free. bets or void any bet funded by the deposit bonus.
In addition bet365 .reserve the right to levy an administration charge on the customer up to the value of the deposit bonus, free bet, risk free bet or additional payment to cover administrative costs. We further reserve the right to ask any customer to provide sufficient documentation for us to be satisfied in our absolute discretion as to the customer’s identity prior to us crediting any bonus, free bet, risk free bet or offer to their account.
All bet365 offers are intended for recreational players and bet365 may in its sole discretion limit the eligibility of customers to participate in all or part of any promotion.