Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈʋɛsli ˈsnɛidər] (listen); born 9 June 1984)[4] is a Dutch retired professional footballer. In 2010 he was named UEFA midfielder of the season, and one of the three best midfielders in the world by FIFA. A product of the Ajax Youth Academy, he started his professional career playing for Ajax, with whom he won four trophies and was awarded the Johan Cruyff Trophy in 2004. He was sold to Real Madrid for €27 million in 2007, winning La Liga in his first season with the club, and transferred to Inter Milan for €15 million in 2009. At Inter, he won Serie A, the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup, and two Coppa Italia. After being sold to Galatasaray for €7.5 million in 2013, he helped the club win the Süper Lig in his first season, following with the capture of the Turkish Super Cup, after a 1–0 win against rivals Fenerbahçe. After an unsuccessful stint with Nice, he concluded his footballing career at Qatar Stars League team Al Gharafa.

Wesley Sneijder
Sneijder with the Netherlands national team in 2014
Personal information
Full name Wesley Sneijder[1]
Date of birth (1984-06-09) 9 June 1984[2]
Place of birth Utrecht, Netherlands
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)[3]
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1990–1991 DOS
1991–2002 Ajax
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2002–2007 Ajax 126 (43)
2007–2009 Real Madrid 52 (11)
2009–2012 Inter Milan 76 (13)
2013–2017 Galatasaray 124 (35)
2017–2018 Nice 5 (0)
2018–2019 Al-Gharafa 22 (15)
Total 405 (117)
National team
2000–2001 Netherlands U17 6 (2)
2001–2002 Netherlands U19 8 (3)
2003 Netherlands U21 1 (0)
2003–2018 Netherlands 134 (31)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Due to his elite playmaking ability, Sneijder was considered one of the best midfielders in the world during his prime.[5] Having previously represented various youth squads for the Netherlands, he was a regular player for the Dutch national team, making his debut in April 2003 at the age of 18, and representing his country at the 2006, 2010 (where the Netherlands were defeated 1–0 in the final) and 2014 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2004, 2008 and 2012 UEFA European Football Championships. Individually, he was awarded the 2010 Bronze Boot, the 2010 Silver Ball, and included in the team of the tournament for Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, as well as named man of the match for six out of eleven games played by the Oranje at these two tournaments.[6] With 134 caps, he is the most capped Dutch player of all time. He announced his international retirement in March 2018.[7] Because of his status as most capped player he was granted a farewell match played against Peru on 6 September 2018.

Early life

Wesley Sneijder was born on 9 June 1984 in Utrecht into a football family: his father and his older brother Jeffrey were both football players. His younger brother Rodney is currently also a professional football player.

Club career


Sneijder during his time with Ajax

Sneijder moved to Ajax's famous youth academy at age seven after beginning as a youth player with local Utrecht club DOS.[8] Following his older brother's footsteps, he signed for Ajax, initially on trial but subsequently impressed enough to be signed on a permanent basis. He first made the bench as an unused substitute for Ajax in a 2–0 win at SBV Excelsior on 22 December 2002 when manager Ronald Koeman, troubled by an injury-filled squad, called him up, advised by Danny Blind, the then-coach of the Ajax youth squad. On 2 February 2003, Sneijder made his official Ajax debut against Willem II in a 6–0 win.[9] He quickly established himself in the first team, starting in the Champions League quarter-final match against A.C. Milan on 23 April 2003.[10]

On 5 March 2003, Sneijder scored his first goal for Ajax in a 4–1 win over FC Groningen in the KNVB Cup.[11] On 13 April, he scored his first Eredivisie goal against NAC Breda in a 3–0 win.[12] He scored three further league goals in wins against Roda JC,[11] RKC Waalwijk[11] and De Graafschap.[11] The following season, he scored nine league goals[11] as Ajax won the 2003–04 Eredivisie title.[13] Sneijder's performances saw him awarded the Johan Cruijff Prijs for the season's best young player in the Netherlands.

On 14 September 2005, he scored his first Champions League goal in a group match against AC Sparta Praha.[14] Ajax qualified for the knockout stage, with Sneijder scoring again in a 4–2 win over FC Thun.[15]

On 7 May 2006, Sneijder was in the starting line-up for Ajax in the KNVB Cup final, setting up Klaas-Jan Huntelaar's opening goal in a 2–1 win over PSV at the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam.[16]

During the 2006–07 season, Sneijder scored 18 goals in the Eredivisie and 20 goals overall.[11] On 6 May 2007, Sneijder played for Ajax in the final of the KNVB Cup as the team defeated AZ on a penalty shootout.[17]

On 12 August 2007, Ajax agreed to sell Sneijder to Real Madrid for 27 million, according to the club's website, making him the second most expensive Dutch football player.

Real Madrid

Sneijder playing for Real Madrid, 2009

Sneijder was the second of three Dutchmen to sign for Real Madrid during the 2007–08 season, joining Royston Drenthe and Arjen Robben. He also was given the number 23, which had been previously worn by David Beckham for four seasons at Real. In his first La Liga match for Real, he scored the winner in the Madrid Derby against Atlético Madrid. On the second matchday, he scored two goals against Villarreal CF, one coming from a direct free-kick. Sneijder capped a fine first season in Spain by hitting a stunning free-kick in the last game of the season against Levante UD at the Santiago Bernabéu, taking his goal tally to nine in the La Liga season, a season which also saw Real retain their league title.

On 3 August 2008, Sneijder was stretchered off in a pre-season friendly at the Emirates Stadium, against Arsenal with a suspected cruciate ligament injury after a collision with Abou Diaby. Sneijder had an MRI which confirmed the extent of the injury to be not as bad as first feared. It was expected that he would be out for at least three months.[18] He managed, however, to recover in time and was included in the starting XI for the Champions League clash against Juventus in Turin.

On 2 September 2008, AS reported that after Robinho's departure to Manchester City for €42 million, Sneijder would now be Real Madrid's new number 10.[19] One day later, Real Madrid confirmed on their website that Sneijder would wear 10. His previous number, 23, was taken over by his fellow Dutchman and former Ajax teammate Rafael van der Vaart,[20] whose preferred number is 23.

2009–10: Treble champions

On 27 August 2009, Sneijder was bought by Inter Milan from Real Madrid for a reported fee of 15 million.[21][22] He was given the number 10 shirt and made his debut a day after he signed the contract, making an immediate impact by being on the winning side in the Milan Derby (4–0) against Milan.[23] On 3 October 2009, he scored his first goal in the 92nd minute against Udinese in a 2–1 win.[24][25] His second goal was scored on 24 October 2009 against Catania, directly from a free kick, and he scored his first Champions League goal for Inter in a dramatic 2–1 group stage win against Dynamo Kyiv in the 89th minute. His next goal was also scored off a hard-swerving free kick in a Coppa Italia game against Livorno.

On 9 January 2010, he scored two stunning free kicks against Siena in the game which Inter won 4–3. On 24 January, he received a straight red card in the Milan derby. On 6 April, Sneijder scored a free kick against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League quarter-final in the sixth minute, to give Inter a 2–0 aggregate win. On 20 April, he scored Inter's equalising goal during their Champions League semi-final first leg against defending champions Barcelona. He leveled the game by firing in right-footed from a Diego Milito pass. Inter went on to win the game 3–1 and the tie 3–2 on aggregate. Sneijder was given the nickname "The Sniper" by the media for his ability to deliver perfect passes and score from impressive distances.[26]

On 22 May, Inter won the Champions League Final against Bayern Munich by a score of 2–0. Both goals were scored by Diego Milito, with Sneijder supplying the assist for the first goal.[27] The Champions League was Inter's third trophy of the 2009–10 season after winning the Coppa Italia and Serie A titles.

2010–11: Quintuple and individual success

Sneijder playing for Inter in 2010

Sneijder commenced the 2010–11 season on 21 August 2010 by winning the 2010 Supercoppa Italiana with a 3–1 win over Roma.[28] Five days later, he was named by UEFA as the best club midfielder of the 2009–10 Champions League.[29] The day after, at Monaco's Stade Louis II, Inter lost to UEFA Europa League winners Atlético Madrid in the 2010 UEFA Super Cup with Sneijder playing 79 minutes.[30]

He scored his first goal of the season in a 2–2 draw against Twente in the Champions League on 14 September, and followed that up with another goal in Inter's second game against Werder Bremen in a 4–0 win at the San Siro on 29 September.[31][32] On 26 October, Sneijder was shortlisted for the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or award, eventually finishing 4th which Barcelona's Lionel Messi won.[33] Only two days later, Sneijder signed a five-year contract extension with Inter, tying him to the club until 2015.[34] President Massimo Moratti expressed his delight for the new deal, stating for the club's official website: "Sneijder became a key player for Inter last season and will be this year and for many years to come."[35]

Inter finished second in Group A of the Champions League and were drawn against Bayern Munich (whom they had beaten in the previous season's final) in the round of 16. In the first leg, Sneijder and Inter were uninspired and lost 1–0 to a late Mario Gómez goal at the San Siro.[36] On 15 March 2011, Sneijder helped Inter turn it around, scoring in the 63rd-minute leading to a 3–2 win (3–3 on aggregate, Inter progressing on away goals)[37] at the Allianz Arena,[38] booking a place in the quarter-final against Germany's Schalke 04.[39] The first leg of that quarter-final ended 5–2 to Schalke.[40] Sneijder also played in the second leg of the tie but could not prevent his team from losing 2–1 and 7–3 on aggregate.[41]

2011–12: Injury-hit season

Sneijder begun his third season in Inter colours in strong fashion, netting the opener with a free kick in the 2011 Supercoppa Italiana match against Milan. The match however ended in a 2–1 win for Rossoneri.[42] In September, he injured his left thigh during the 3–1 away loss to newcomers Novara.[43]

The Dutch returned in action one month later, playing 66 minutes against Chievo and assisting Thiago Motta's header for a 1–0 win at home, the first of the season.[44] His first championship goal came in the very next game where he scored the opener in an eventual 1–1 draw at Atalanta.[45]

Sneijder suffered another injury later in November 2011 when he damaged his right knee's rectus femoris muscle during the warm-up before the start of the match against Cagliari.[46] He was replaced by the youngster Philippe Coutinho who scored in the match.[47] The injury forced Sneijder to miss the rest of 2011, returning in the field on 15 January as a late substitute for goalscorer Diego Milito in the derby victory over Milan.[48]

Sneijder made his 100th Inter appearance on 26 February by playing the first half of a 1–0 defeat to Napoli.[49] He then scored a brace against Udinese at Stadio Friuli to lead his team to a 3–1 win, also marking his first goals since October 2011.[50] Sneijder concluded his third season as Inter playing by making only 20 league appearances, with the injuries making a big impact. The team finished sixth, conceding 55 goals, just five goals short of equalling their all-time worst concession in a single Serie A campaign.[51] In Coppa Italia, he played two times as Inter were eliminated by Napoli,[52] while in Champions League appeared five times in a round of 16 exit by Marseille.[53]

2012–13: Decline and departure

Sneijder's season begun on 2 August by playing against Hajduk Split in the first leg of 2012–13 UEFA Europa League third qualifying round. He scored the team's first goal of the season which contributed in a comfortable 3–0 away win.[54] He was on the score-sheet again twenty-four days later in the season opener against Pescara (3–0).[55]

Sneijder suffered another misfortune on 26 September as he was taken off after 26 minutes in the league game against Chievo.[56] It turned out to be his last appearance for the team as he and the club didn't find a mutual agreement for the new contract.[57] Despite recovering from the injury, Sneijder wasn't called up in the squad, with president Massimo Moratti describing it as a "technical decision" of the coach.[57] The club offered him a contract running until 2016 with a wage of €6 million plus bonuses to €4 million which Sneijder, who earned around €14,7 million, turned down.[58]

Sneijder left the club officially on 20 January in favour of signing with Turkey's Galatasaray, concluding his Inter spell with 116 games and 22 goals, also winning six trophies.[59]


After reportedly falling out of favour with Inter due to contract renewal issues, Sneijder agreed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Turkish giants Galatasaray on 20 January 2013 for a fee of €7.5 million.[60] Thousands of Galatasaray fans welcomed the Dutch international at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport as soon as Sneijder's exact arrival time was announced by the club on their official website.[61] Sneijder signed the official contract on 21 January at the Türk Telekom Arena, home of Galatasaray. During the press conference, regarding the questions about Gala legend Gheorghe Hagi, Sneijder said, "He was a legend, and I want to become a legend."[62] Later, he appeared on the club's official TV station Galatasaray TV, where he answered several questions about his transfer to Galatasaray and personal life. He also sent out a message addressing the Galatasaray fans: "Thank you for the support. I'm really proud, and I will make you guys even more proud. I'm happy to be here, and I can't wait to play my first game for you guys."[63]

On 27 January, Sneijder made his debut, coming on as a substitute in a 2–1 win against rivals Beşiktaş.[64] Sneijder received a warm reception when he replaced Umut Bulut. He scored his first goal on 25 February in a 4–2 home win against Orduspor, where he produced a finesse shot from the edge of the box, turning the game back on for the home side as Galatasaray were down by two goals.[65] On 9 April 2013, Sneijder scored Galatasaray's second goal in a 3–2 win over his former club Real Madrid in the quarter-final stage of the Champions League.[66] On 5 May 2013, Galatasaray beat Sivasspor 2–1 to win the 2012–13 Süper Lig, this gave Sneijder a league title in a fourth different country.[67]

After using the number 14 shirt in his debut season with Galatasaray, Sneijder was given the number 10 shirt previously worn by Felipe Melo for the 2013–14 Süper Lig season following a squad number reshuffle. On 1 December 2013, when Galatasaray drew with Kasımpaşa Spor Kulübü,[68] Galatasaray manager Roberto Mancini, in response to the question "where is Sneijder?" asked by reporters during a post-match interview answered, "Sneijder has left and I do not know where he has gone,"[69] while Galatasaray's official website had earlier informed the media on the reason for Sneijder's absence.

On 11 December 2013, Sneijder scored a late winning goal against Juventus in a 1–0 UEFA Champions League win to qualify Galatasaray for the knockout phase.[70] On 2 February 2014, Sneijder scored a hat-trick in Süper Lig encounter against Bursaspor in a 6–0 win.[71]

Sneijder during pre-match training at Galatasaray, 2015

On 6 April 2014, he scored his first derby goal against rivals Fenerbahçe, in a 1–0 home win.[72] On 7 May 2014, Sneijder played a major part in the Turkish Cup final against Eskişehirspor, scoring the only goal of the game in the 70th minute and receiving the Man of the Match award for his performance.[73]

Sneijder scored ten goals throughout the season during the 2014–15 Süper Lig campaign. By almost single-handedly winning many games for his team, he has been the man in the spotlight for Galatasaray in securing the league title. On 25 May, Sneijder celebrated the championship alongside Gala fans at the front yard of his residence[74] after Başakşehir drew with Fenerbahçe,[75] which brought Galatasaray the triumph. During the official title ceremony,[76][77] Sneijder sang the famous Gala chant "Don't cry Fener"[78] into the microphone in front of 52000 Gala fans.[79]

Since his arrival, Sneijder has become the most efficient agent for the Lions regarding the Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray rivalry. He has scored three goals against Fenerbahçe in league matches in a year, which is more than enough for Galatasaray society to name a player a club legend. In the home game against Fenerbahçe, which was played on matchday 6,[80] Sneijder sent out two long-range rockets in the 88th and 90th minutes, where Galatasaray claimed the victory against their bitter rivals. Overall, he has scored six long-range goals and three free kicks in league and cup games. In his 100th game for Galatasaray, he also scored the only goal against Gençlerbirliği on matchday 32,[81] which helped the Lions stay at the top of the league table for the time being.

In the 2014–15 Turkish Cup, he also helped his team reach the final by providing three goals and three assists. Galatasaray won the final 3–2 against Bursaspor[82] which was held in Bursa Atatürk Stadium on 3 June. Sneijder assisted the first goal[83] off of striker Burak Yılmaz's hat-trick.

During Galatasaray's 2014–15 UEFA Champions League campaign, where they were knocked out at the group stage, Sneijder scored one goal–a late free kick against Arsenal at home–and made one assist. Sneijder was made vice captain of Galatasaray.

Sneijder began the season scoring the only goal for his team in the 35th Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu, where Galatasaray visited Real Madrid on 18 August.[84] The game ended with a 2–1 victory for Real Madrid.

On matchday 3 of the 2015–16 Süper Lig[85] in which Galatasaray visited Konyaspor, Sneijder scored two goals in the second half[86] and led his team to a 1–4 away win,[87] despite his side being down to ten men after Lionel Carole's 67th-minute red card, receiving prior to Sneijder's double.[88]

On 3 October, Sneijder signed a three-year contract extension with Galatasaray. He immediately received a €1.3 million signing bonus, and his basic salaries in the 2016–17 and 2017–18 seasons would be €3.2 million, plus various bonuses.[89]

On 14 July 2017, Sneijder and Galatasaray terminated his contract resulting in him becoming a free agent. Sneijder was reported to have released himself from the contract by buying himself out of the remaining period for €4.5 million[90]


On 7 August 2017, Sneijder joined Ligue 1 side Nice on a free transfer.[91] During his five-month stay at the club, he made 8 appearances and provided one assist to a Mario Balotelli goal in a UEFA Europa League match against Lazio.


After getting released by Nice, Sneijder joined Qatari club Al-Gharafa. He made his debut on 12 January 2018, captaining the team and giving an assist in the league 2–1 win over Al Ahli Doha at the Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium.[92]

On 12 August 2019, Sneijder announced his decision to retire from football, and begin working for FC Utrecht.[93][94]

International career

Sneijder (left) with Arjen Robben and Nigel de Jong lining up for the Netherlands in 2012

Sneijder made his debut for the Netherlands under-21 side against the Czech Republic on 28 March 2003.[95] His first game with the senior Dutch side was against Portugal on 30 April that same year[96] when he became the eighth-youngest player to play for the Netherlands in the first team's history. On 9 June 2017, he became the nation's most capped player of all-time when he made his 131st appearance in a 5–0 win over Luxembourg, surpassing the record which had previously held by Edwin van der Sar for 4002 days.[97]

Euro 2004

Sneijder reached the UEFA Euro 2004 semi-finals with the Netherlands. He began the competition mainly on the bench, and was subbed into two group stage matches: his team's first match against Germany and their third match against Latvia. He had also contributed two goals in the qualifying tournament.

2006 World Cup

Sneijder taking a free kick while Rafael van der Vaart looks on

Sneijder started all four games for the Netherlands at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany. He received one of the record 16 yellow cards doled out during the infamous Round of 16 clash with Portugal (titled the "Battle of Nuremberg") after pushing the Portuguese midfielder Petit to the ground during a brawl between Portuguese and Dutch players; Portugal went on to win 1–0.

Euro 2008

In the build-up to Euro 2008, Sneijder scored a free kick in a friendly against Wales on 31 May, making it his second strike from a direct free kick in a row. The game ended 2–0 with a goal from fellow Real Madrid teammate Arjen Robben.

Sneijder marked his 24th birthday in style by scoring one of the goals of the tournament; the second goal in the 31st minute of the Euro 2008 match against the World Cup champions, Italy. Following Giovanni van Bronckhorst's goal-line clearance and subsequent run into the Italian half, Sneijder received a headed ball from Dirk Kuyt and volleyed it with an acrobatic strike past Gianluigi Buffon. This brought the score to 2–0 after Ruud van Nistelrooy's opener five minutes prior. The match finished with a 3–0 victory to the Dutch after a third goal was scored by van Bronkhorst after another run by him, following a crucial save from Edwin van der Sar. Sneijder's goal contributed to the Netherlands' first victory over Italy in 30 years, which was the biggest defeat Italy had suffered since Sweden beat them by the same margin in 1983. Many fans and pundits agreed that this goal was one of the best of the tournament. On 13 June, he scored another goal for the Oranje in the Euro 2008 group stage match against France: in the 92nd minute, from outside the box, Sneijder struck the ball into the corner of the net, bouncing off the crossbar on its way in. The match finished 4–1 for the Netherlands. Although the Dutch lost to the Russians in the quarter-final, Sneijder was named in the Team of the Tournament for his strong performances.

2010 World Cup

Sneijder the day before the Dutch team's departure to South Africa

Sneijder was in the starting line-up for their first match in the competition, a 2–0 victory over Denmark.[98] He scored the winning goal in a 1–0 victory over Japan.[99] In the first two matches of the group stage at the FIFA World Cup, he was selected as the man of the match in both.[100][101][102] In the Netherlands' round of 16 match against Slovakia, Sneijder scored in a 2–1 victory.[103] He also provided what was at first thought to be an assist for the first goal against Brazil in the quarter-finals, but was later credited with the goal.[104] He then scored the first header of his career direct from a corner and consigned Brazil to a 2–1 defeat, bringing his goal total in the tournament to four. Sneijder was again named man of the match on FIFA's website.[105]

In the semi-final against Uruguay, Sneijder scored in the 70th minute, taking his total in the competition to five, raising him at the time to first place in terms of goals scored, along with Spain's David Villa.[106] The Netherlands won the match 3–2 and progressed to the final. Sneijder was yet again named on FIFA's website as the Budweiser man of the match according to the public online vote.[107] In the World Cup Final, the Dutch lost to Spain 1–0 after extra time, conceding the only goal of the match after 116 minutes to Andrés Iniesta.[108]

Euro 2012

For Euro 2012, the Netherlands were in Group B, also known as the "group of death," alongside Portugal, Germany, and Denmark. Sneijder was deployed as an attacking midfielder as the Netherlands lost 1–0 and 2–1 to Denmark and Germany, respectively. Against Portugal, they lost again 2–1, with Sneijder playing on the left wing to see the Netherlands have an early exit from Euro 2012.

2014 World Cup

In August 2012, after the retirement of Mark van Bommel, Sneijder was named as captain of the Netherlands.[109] Less than a year later, however, he was replaced with Robin van Persie by coach Louis van Gaal.[110]

Sneijder was named in the Netherlands' squad for the 2014 World Cup and made his 100th international appearance in the team's opening match, a 5–1 demolition of world champions Spain on 13 June. In the round of 16, Sneijder scored an 88th-minute equaliser, as the Netherlands recovered from a 0–1 deficit to overcome Mexico 2–1 in Fortaleza.

In the quarter-final, Sneijder scored the Netherlands' third penalty kick in a 4–3 penalty shootout defeat of Costa Rica.[111] The semi-final match against Argentina was also decided by a shootout, with Sneijder one of two Netherlands players to have his kick saved by goalkeeper Sergio Romero in a 4–2 defeat.[112] Sneijder was originally part of the Dutch starting line-up in the bronze game against Brazil, but he was replaced by Jonathan de Guzmán after an injury during the pre-match warm-up prevented him from playing.

Later years

Sneijder appeared in all of the 10 matches of the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying campaign and in six of the 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign, which both ended in failure for the Netherlands. He announced his retirement from international football on 4 March 2018, holding a record 133 appearances for the national team.[113] He made his 134th and final international appearance in a friendly match against Peru, at the Johan Cruyff Arena, on 6 September 2018; the match ended in a 2–1 home victory for the Dutch.[114]

Style of play

A creative and versatile midfielder,[115][116] Sneijder has been recognised as one of the classic playmakers of the 2010s.[117][118][119] From his impeccable placement and confirmed ability to score from free kicks, Sneijder earned the reputation as a dead-ball specialist.[120][121] Because of his short stature, he is quick and strong on the ball, and his passing range is enhanced by his ambidexterity;[122] he is also renowned for his powerful striking ability from long range, with either foot.[115] In addition to his vision and ability to create chances for teammates, Sneijder has also been noted for his intelligence and great technical ability.[115][123][124][125] Although he began his career in his preferred role as an attacking midfielder behind the forwards, he is capable of playing in several midfield positions and has also been deployed on the wings or on occasion even up front as a second striker or main striker;[116][118][125] in recent seasons, he has usually played in the centre,[116] as a deep-lying playmaker, due to his ability to dictate the tempo of his team's play in midfield with his passing, although he has stated that he does not favour this position.[116][126] During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he was also deployed in a new role which was later described as a false-10 or central winger, due to Sneijder's tendency to drift from the centre into a wide position when in possession of the ball.[127][128] Despite his talent he has also drawn criticism at times for his limited defensive work-rate as well as his lack of pace, and has also been known to be prone to injury.[116][125]

Personal life

Sneijder has been married to Dutch-Spanish actress and presenter Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen since July 2010, although the couple are no longer together; he has two sons one of them from his first marriage. Inspired by his wife and by Inter teammate Javier Zanetti, Sneijder converted to Roman Catholicism and was baptized in Milan.[129]

Sneijder has two brothers: Jeffrey, a former footballer,[130] and Rodney, who plays for Jong FC Utrecht. In May 2008, it was reported that Sneijder had blocked a summer transfer of Rodney to his own club at the time, Real Madrid. Wesley Sneijder said, "Real Madrid wanted him and Rodney was very happy about that. But when I heard [of it], I stopped the discussions. I am not in favour of juniors increasingly going to top clubs. I've told him that he first must make a breakthrough at Ajax."[131][132]

During an interview in a radio station in Thessaloniki, Sneijder's brother Rodney confirmed that he and Wesley Sneijder (along with their other brother Jeffrey) have part-Greek descent, since their paternal grandmother was a Greek woman born in Kavala who moved to Utrecht before World War II.[133]


In October 2008, Dutch magazine Voetbal International conducted a poll to decide who was the best Dutch free kick taker. Sneijder received an overwhelming 70% of the votes, while Robin van Persie came second with 21% and striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was third with 3% of the vote.[134] He was voted as the best player of the 2009–10 season by Goal.com.[135]

Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition[136]
Club Season League Cup League Cup1 Continental2 Other3 Total
Ajax 2002–03 1743130235
2003–04 30910713810
2004–05 307317011419
2005–06 1953274213112
2006–07 30184191424722
Total 126431453367418058
Real Madrid 2007–08 309205010389
2008–09 222204000282
Total 52114090106611
Inter Milan 2009–10 26441113418
2010–11 254209330397
2011–12 204205011285
2012–13 51003182
Total 7613812874111622
Galatasaray 2012–13 12341164
2013–14 28126372104217
2014–15 31106361104414
2015–16 255618010406
2016–17 2854010315
Total 124352272544017546
Nice 2017–18 5000003080
Al-Gharafa 2017–18 11900621711
2018–19 11622138
Total 221522623019
Career total 40511750150010419165575156

1 Includes Coupe de la Ligue, Qatari Stars Cup matches.

2 Includes UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and AFC Champions League matches.

3 Includes Johan Cruijff Shield, Eredivisie playoffs, Supercopa de España, Supercoppa Italiana, TFF Süper Kupa, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup matches.


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National teamYearAppsGoals
Netherlands[137] 200332
Scores and results list the Netherland's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Sneijder goal.
List of international goals scored by Wesley Sneijder
1.11 October 2003Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Moldova2–05–0UEFA Euro 2004 qualification
2.19 November 2003Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Scotland1–06–0UEFA Euro 2004 qualification
3.18 August 2004Råsunda Stadium, Stockholm, Sweden Sweden1–12–2Friendly
4.8 June 2005Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Finland1–13–12006 FIFA World Cup qualification
5.17 August 2005Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, Barcelona, Spain Andorra3–03–0
6.24 March 2007Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Russia2–04–1Friendly
7.8 September 2007 Bulgaria1–02–0UEFA Euro 2008 qualification
8.17 October 2007Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Slovenia1–02–0
9.1 May 2008De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands Wales2–02–0Friendly
10.9 June 2008Stade de Suisse, Bern, Switzerland Italy2–03–0UEFA Euro 2008
11.13 June 2008 France4–14–1
12.9 May 2009Grolsch Veste, Enschede, Netherlands Japan2–03–0Friendly
13.1 June 2010De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands Ghana3–14–1
14.5 June 2010Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Hungary2–16–1
15.19 June 2010Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, South Africa Japan1–01–02010 FIFA World Cup
16.28 June 2010 Slovakia2–02–12010 FIFA World Cup
17.2 July 2010Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, South Africa Brazil1–12–1
19.6 July 2010Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town, South Africa Uruguay2–13–2
20.9 February 2011Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands Austria1–03–1Friendly
21.29 March 2011Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Hungary2–25–3UEFA Euro 2012 qualification
22.3 September 2011Philips Stadion, Eindhoven, Netherlands San Marino2–011–0
24.2 June 2012Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands Northern Ireland2–06–0Friendly
25.11 June 2013Workers Stadium, Beijing, China China PR2–02–0
26.15 October 2013Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey Turkey2–02–02014 FIFA World Cup qualification
27.29 June 2014Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza, Brazil Mexico1–12–12014 FIFA World Cup
28.12 November 2014Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Netherlands1–12–3Friendly
29.10 October 2015Astana Arena, Astana, Kazakhstan Kazakhstan2–02–1UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying
30.6 September 2016Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden Sweden1–11–12018 FIFA World Cup qualification
31.9 June 2017De Kuip, Rotterdam, Netherlands Luxembourg2–05–0


Sneijder (left, with a Vuvuzela) and John Heitinga were teammates at Ajax


  • Eredivisie: 2003–04
  • KNVB Cup: 2005–06, 2006–07
  • Johan Cruyff Shield: 2006

Real Madrid[138]

Inter Milan[138]


  • Süper Lig: 2012–13, 2014–15
  • Turkish Cup: 2013–14, 2014–15, 2015–16
  • Turkish Super Cup: 2013, 2015, 2016


  • Qatari Stars Cup: 2018–19
Sneijder at Schiphol departing for the World Cup



See also

  • List of footballers with 100 or more caps


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