Currently riding the crest of a wave, life is pretty sweet for Wesley Sneijder right now. Having just completed an historic season with Inter Milan in his first season with the club, Sneijder has enjoyed an impressive start to his World Cup campaign.
Having begun his career at Ajax, the Dutchman is a player who many recognised was destined for bigger and better things than the Eredivisie. Many expected him to move from Ajax sooner than he did. Having made his debut in 2002, Sneijder went on to make 174 appearances for the Amsterdam club scoring 56 goals, a terrific return for a midfield player.
The summer of 2007 saw him make the move to Real Madrid, a fitting stage for his talents. Sneijder settled immediately, scoring on his debut for the club against Atletico Madrid. He added a further two goals in his next appearance. His performances for the Netherlands in Euro 2008, where he scored one of the goals of the tournament, saw him named in the Team of the Tournament despite a quarter-final exit.
The 2008/09 was more of a struggle for both the Dutchman and the club as a whole. Having returned from an injury lay-off, Real Madrid began to struggle badly on the pitch both domestically and in Europe. After a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Liverpool in the Champions League, Madrid’s hold on the La Liga title was relinquished to rivals Barcelona. The improvement of the Catalan club forced Madrid into a staggering summer of spending with the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka and the rest. The second ‘galactico’ era appeared to be upon us with the return of club President Fiorentino Perez.
It was a big surprise when Sneijder became one of the casualties of this squad overhaul however, making the move to Inter Milan for 15 million euros, a bargain for a player of such quality. It was a move which paid off as he went on to pick up a league title, domestic cup and a Champions League medal under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho. His performances last season, particularly in Europe, reasserted himself as one of the finest playmaking midfielders in the game.
As things have turned out, Jose Mourinho’s appointment at Real Madrid has seen Sneijder linked with a surprising return to the Bernabeu. Mourinho will certainly be interested after overseeing the influence of Sneijder on his Inter team. Also linked is Manchester United, a team that are certainly missing a player in the mould of the Dutchman. The reported fee of £20 million appears, in all honesty, to be another bargain and a surprise especially in today’s inflated market. Knowing Rafael Benitez, he will certainly resist any bids. Following Jose Mourinho’s achievements are going to be hard enough as it is without selling one of the team’s most influential players before his tenure has even started. Any interest from Mourinho is sure to interest Sneijder however, offering the chance to return to Spain, and Madrid in particular, where he will feel he has some unfinished business.
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