In our countdown of the Top 20 Inter players in the last 20 years, we recognise treble winning midfielder Wesley Sneijder in 10th spot.
It’s only fitting that Wesley wore the #10 jersey for Inter and is placed in at #10 on our countdown. One of my favourite Inter players, that’s for sure.
Let’s look a bit further into Sneijder’s Inter career –
Absolute bargain –
It seems every player we’ve ever signed from Real Madrid has always worked out great for Inter. Zamorano, Cambiasso and Seedorf just to mention a few. The same would be said about Wesley Sneijder who joined Inter in the 2009/10 season.
There was talks of Sneijder being unhappy at Madrid, and Madrid also considered Sneijder injury prone as he spent half the prior season on the sidelines. It seemed like a change of scenery was exactly what the doctor ordered!
The Spanish giants were willing to give up Sneijder for a fee of €15 mil, where they had paid €27mil to Ajax only two seasons earlier. It definitely suited Inter who were building a super squad to compete in all competitions.
World Class –
On Sneijder’s Inter debut he was instrumental in Inter’s romping of AC Milan. The final score finished 4-0 with Sneijder being the focal point of any attacking raids which Inter had.
We were seeing the best of Sneijder and it seemed the environment suited him perfectly too. It may have been Mourinho’s coaching style which a lot of players have always bought into.
It would take Sneijder 6 matches before he scored his first goal for Inter. A stoppage time winner helping Inter beat Udinese 2-1, and suddenly the confidence started coming out.
Players like Milito, Maicon and Eto’o really flourished with Sneijder in the team, as their runs into space were usually rewarded with a pinpoint ball at their feet. If Sneijder wasn’t making the last pass leading to the goal, then he was generally the player who setup the attacking play to begin with.
Inter have always had great players, but it felt for years there was always a link between the midfield and the attack which was able to take Inter to the next level. Sneijder fit this position perfectly and success was on it’s way.
As we know, the rest is history as Sneijder would go on to win 6 trophies with Inter including that treble in 2009/10.
“Man who was robbed of the Ballon d’Or”
On an individual level, Sneijder would also have his best season while at Inter in 2009/10.
After success in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich only a couple of months earlier, where Sneijder would provide an assist in the match which Inter won 2-0, Sneijder would endure heartbreak in the World Cup 2010 final with the Netherlands.
The Netherlands would play some beautiful football all tournament as Sneijder was the standout where he finished the tournaments top goal scorer with 5 goals. Unfortunately, they would lose in the final 1-0 to Spain after extra time.
Sneijder was snubbed that season as he deservedly should’ve won the Ballon d’Or after such a phenomenal year with both Inter and the Netherlands.
Still to this day people talk about the robbery which took place where Messi was handed the Ballon d’Or, even though Sneijder’s Inter knocked Messi’s Barcelona out of the Champions League.
Messi’s Argentina also got decimated 4-0 in the 2010 World Cup quarter final. This was all while Sneijder single handedly won their quarter final 2-1 against Brazil with the Dutchman scoring the 2 goals of the match.
I look back and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Sneijder was out of this world that season and he definitely was more deserving. The crazy thing is that Sneijder didn’t even finish in the top 3. Absolutely unbelievable!
Best Sneijder match –
Semi final leg 1 of the 2009/10 Champions League. This was a match at the San Siro against Barcelona. Barcelona were the favourites as they played out a 0-0 draw against Inter several months earlier at the San Siro.
Inter were down 1-0, as Pedro found the back of the net after a smart Maxwell pass across goal. There were some decent chances for Milito, who unfortunately had missed the target a couple of times.
Not long after missing a great chance, Milito would find Sneijder free inside the box and the score was soon 1-1. Sneijder with an excellent side foot finish putting the ball over Valdes outstretched leg to get the Nerazzurri back on level terms.
Considering this match was against the reigning European Champions, and arguably the best team in the world at the time, Sneijder absolutely bossed the midfield and allowed Inter to create some fantastic chances.
Midway through the second half, Sneijder would get his assist as he headed across goal to find Milito at the back post. The score 3-1 and that’s the way it would finish. Wesley instrumental in defeating the champions at home, and this was the decisive blow to put Inter into the final.
Free-kick ability –
For years before and years after, Inter missed having a free-kick specialist who could score from anywhere. There were fantastic players prior such as Recoba and Ibrahimović, but neither of those had the power and accuracy such as Sneijder.
In Sneijder’s first season, he would go on to score 5 free-kicks with 3 of them being match winning goals. A match where Sneijder scored two free-kicks against Siena stands out for me.
The first free-kick just outside the edge of the box. With skill, Sneijder was special enough to get the ball over the wall and then dip it into the bottom corner. Not many players could have that much control over the ball so it just shows Sneijder’s skill.
The second free-kick, which is Sneijder greatest Inter goal in my opinion, was beautiful to watch. Inter down 3-2 in the 88th minute and up steps Sneijder about 15-20 yards outside the box.
The ball driven low and hard around the edge of the wall. Swirling in the air from left to right so the keeper is unable to commit until late. The keeper makes his move but the shot was too perfect, crashing into the side post then into the back of the net.
Inter would go on to win this match 4-3, thanks to two stunning goals from Sneijder.
We will be visiting number 9 next on our countdown. Who would you like to see in that number 9 spot for the Top 20 Inter players in the past 20 years?
As always Forza Inter!