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Player Focus: Wesley Sneijder


Player Focus: Wesley Sneijder


"I'm going with my head high, I'm going to a great team, there's no doubt about that. I've been very happy here but now I have to look ahead and focus on my new team. What happened with me is something very strange. They have treated me very badly but I prefer not to talk about it.”

Those words, laced with bitterness at the way his stay had ended, were spoken by Wesley Sneijder in August 2009 as he moved from Real Madrid to Inter in a transfer worth around €15 million. The situation was eerily similar to the one in which the player now finds himself as his relationship with the Nerazzurri has deteriorated extremely quickly. He is refusing to extend his contract until 2016, a move proposed by Inter to allow them to spread the salary of his current contract over that extra season as they seek to reduce costs.

Whoever is making the final decision on his playing status – both Coach Andrea Stramaccioni and Technical Director Marco Branca have claimed to have had the final say – the Dutchman has not featured since late September and, just a short hours after leaving a meeting with Inter’s directors and his agent earlier this week, he released a brief statement.  "How can I accept a new contract under these conditions when I am not even playing?" A straightforward question from a player currently on the outside looking in as the San Siro club continue to overlook him.

Missing out on the Champions League has had huge financial repercussions for Inter and they have parted ways with a raft of iconic players – the Brazilian trio of Maicon, Lucio and Julio Cesar among them – who shaped their recent history and been key figures in the incredible treble winning season of 2009-10. Yet no player – perhaps other than Diego Milito – played a more vital role in Jose Mourinho’s complete dominance of Europe.

Even this season he has recorded, in his five appearances, a rating better than all but six Nerazzurri players to have played more than once, netting a goal and an assist in the opening two games of the campaign. He even manages to still lead the side in terms of shots per game (4.2) and, more pertinently, key passes per game with 2.8 per outing.

That latter number hints at a creativity which has been – Antonio Cassano aside – lacking in the side this term and with FantAntonio hardly the fittest player in the squad, what better alternative for Stramaccioni than the player currently spending his match days modelling the latest club suit? Last season was far from his best since moving to the club yet looking at his statistics he was still highly influential in a campaign which was a collective failing by all concerned.

Only fifteen players in the league averaged better than Sneijder’s 7.3 rating and three of those – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi – no longer ply their trade on the peninsula. It was the highest rating by any Inter player who is still with the team and is merely a small insight into quite how vital he was to the team even in such a disappointing campaign.


Player Focus: Wesley Sneijder


He scored just four league goals but reached exactly the same total in each of his two previous campaigns in Italy and led the team with five assists despite only featuring in 20 league games. He also took more shots per game than any Inter player (3.9 per game) while his 2.3 key passes per game was only bettered by seven players across the whole of Serie A.

Sneijder averaged 51.9 passes per game – good enough for 20th place in the league as well as being the best among all Inter players – at a completion rate of 82.5%; an incredibly high figure for a player in such an advanced and creative role. As if to further reinforce this point, all the Serie A players to have made more passes than him were central midfielders or defenders, positions from which there generally is far less pressure to make the right decision and pick out a team-mate.

Of course other clubs will now be circling, looking to see how the Dutchman’s qualities can improve their teams; something that Inter will want to make potential buyers aware of, especially if they try to drive down any potential transfer fee. Sneijder’s move to Inter saw Real Madrid recoup just over half the €27m they paid Ajax when signing him in 2007.

With three of Europe’s most grandiose club’s already on his CV, few would bet against him adding a fourth and, still just 28, he clearly has much left to offer. He is, after all, still just two years on from winning both Silver Ball and Bronze boot as he completed a remarkable 2010 by leading the Netherlands to the World Cup Final and helping Inter win every trophy available to them. “Life and football move on," he said when leaving the Spanish capital, so too it seems will Wesley Sneijder.

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Malouda Steve Gohouri Kenwyne Jones Lecce Stephen Ireland Jakub Blaszcykowski Christian Fuchs Sloan Privat Abraham Guie Guie Louis Saha Martin Harnik German Bundesliga Grant Holt Ali Al-Habsi Ludovic Sane Aldo Angoula Younes Kaboul Brest Marcelo Stiliyan Petrov mathieu Valbuena Tono Ramirez Gianluca Buffon Emile Heskey John Utaka Markus Rosenborg Marko Arnautovic Jonathan Biabiany Andrea Caracciolo Evian Thonon Gaillard Mohammed Abdellaoue Dijon Anton Ferdinand Fabricio Coloccini Betting Eric Mouloungui Cedric Bakambu Gregory Pujol Eduardo Ribeiro Sebastien Larsson Nolan Roux Bradley Johnson Jamie O'Hara Wes Brown Jason Lowe Jose Enrique Anders Lindegaard Mark Schwarzer Cheik Tiote Alberto Aquilani Danny Murphy Martin O'Neill Modibo Maiga OGC Nice Perparim Hetemaj Alejandro Faurlin Leon Britton Antonio Nocerino Maximiliano Moralez Claudio Marchisio Marco Rigoni Simone Pepe Heidar Helguson Mark Gower Blackburn Emanuele Calaiò Zlatan Ibrahimović Germán Denis Jose Jurado Nicolas Anelka Edgar Barreto Alexandre Song Shaun Wright-Phillips Nicolas Maurice-Belay Jhon Jairo Culma Kevin Anin Sebastien Corchia Kevin Theophile-Catherine FC Cologne Julien Feret Jaroslav Plasil Yann Jouffre Tomas Rincon Kevin Davies Giampiero Pinzi Tamas Hajnal Camel Meriem Frederic Bulot AS Nancy Gabriel Torje Lynel Kitambala Florent Sinama-Pongolle Idriss Saadi Oscar Trejo Botelho Juanlu Axel Bellinghausen Gonzalo Castro Andrea Cossu Marcel Schafer Marco Hoger Timothy Chandler Bolton Wanderers Ivan Klasnic Paris St Germain Wolverhampton Wanderers Wigan Athletic Javi Varas Blackburn Rovers Stephan Lichtsteiner Anotnio Cassano Scott Sinclair Nenad Milijas Anatoliy Tymoshchuk Luis Gustavo Ruud van Nistelrooy Benoit Cheyrou Lucho Gonzalez League Analysis Walter Samuel Christian Chivu AS Roma Stephen Warnock Martin Kelly Gary Caldwell Karl Henry Kevin Doyle England National Football Team Javi Venta Vicente Iborra Sergio Ballesteros Bobby Zamora Jonas Gutierrez Dariusz Dudka Youssouf Hadji Christian Abbiati Alvaro Dominguez Phil Neville Senad Lulic Filip Daems Ezequiel Schelotto Victor Ruiz Jonathan Pereira Anthony Reveillere Santiago Gentiletti Cheikh Diabate Nicolas Spolli Luciano Fabian Monzon Mauricio Isla Ignazio Abate Titus Bramble Leroy Lita Christian Lell Philipp Wollscheid Milivoje Novakovic Tottenhman Hotspur Johan Cavalli Eliseu Serdar Tasci Ryan Babel Aleksandar Ignjovski Chechu Dorado Djamel Mesbah Arsenal Swansea Ashely Williams Piscu Eden Dzeko Emmerson Boyce Auxerre Phil Bardsley Jose Bosingwa Gretar Steinsson Mattia Cassani Jonathan Woodgate Germany National Football Team Gasperini Mauro Zarate Diego Forlan Estaban Cambiasso Juraj Kucka Marco Faraoni Joel Obi Benedikt Howedes Clemens Fritz Chris Lowe Daniel van Buyten Albania Yann M’Vila Baptiste Reynet Angelo Palombo Eric Tie Bi Chris Mavinga Aaron Hughes Chris Baird Raul Aly Cissokho Alessandro Del Piero France National Football Team Marc Tierney Bundelsiga Raul Bobadilla Loric Remy Jean Pascal Mignot Mainz 05 Schalke 04 Marcel Risse Steven Reid Danny Gabbidon Michal Kadlec Paulo Machado Ben Watson Spain National Football Team German National Football Team Bundeslgia Ricardo Carvalho Ivan Ramis Diego Colotto Sergio Fernandez Sere A Cesare Bovo Miguel Britos Bostjan Cesar Jose Angel Gabriel Heinze Chris Samba Charles N'Zogbia Yohan Demont Rod Fanni Rudy Mater Georgios Tzavellas Javier Pinola Dennis Aogo Daniel Schwaab Attacking Full-Backs Defensive Wingers 2010/11 Attacking Wingers Nicolas Douchez Under-21 Team of Season 2010-11 Maxi Rodriguez Scott Dann Crossing Wingers Under-21 Team of Season All-Round Midfielders Benoit Pedretti Rising Stars Kyle Walker Gaetano D'Agostino Centre Backs Paulo Da Silva Ivan Hernandez Eric Abidal Weligton Borja Ekiza Alassane Toure Stephane Grichting Jordan Loties Kader Mangane Adama Coulibaly Pedro Geromel Neven Subotic Christian Zapata Roger Johnson Stephan Lichsteiner Reto Ziegler David Vaughan Seb Larsson Asamoah Gyan Benoit Pedretti Anthony Mounier Simao Duda Alvaro Cejudo Xabi Prieto Alexsandar Kolarov Guiseppe Mascara Simone Bentivoglio Fernando Marques Gian Piero Gasperin Thomas Hitzlsperger Rafael Van der Vaart Theofanis Gekas Gerard Asamoah Youssef Al Arabi Lisandro Loric Remy Victor Hugo Montano Edison Cavani Sergio Pellissier David Di Michele Steward Downing Spain Under 21 Felipe Caicedo Pierre Webo Youssef El-Arabi Brown Ideye Mobido Maiga Chu-Young Robin Van Persie Kevin Gamerio Udinese. Alexis Sanchez Sami Allagui Frédéric Kanouté Renato Augusto Jonathan Pitropia Eljero Elia Ivo Llicevic Diego Perez Alvaro González Abel Hernandez David VIlla Marcel Schmelzer Danijel Pranjic Holger Badstuber Sven Bender Johan Djourou Darren Fletcher Carlos Kameni Thiago Silve Antonia Di Natale Cristiano Zapata Domenico Criscito Luis Jimenez Josep Ilicic Samuel Eto’o Alexis Thébaux Ludovic Sané Mamouda Sakho Boukary Dramé Daniel Alves Nikolay Mihaylov Charles Puyol Ji-Sung Park Edwin van der Sar Dani Alves John O’Shea Park Ji-Jung Gabi Fernandez Jonathan de Guzman Michael Owen Gary Taylor-Fletcher Ian Evatt DJ Campbell Charles N’Zogbia Wolverhampton Avram Grant Conor Sammon Wayne Bridge Rob Green Victor Obinna Mike Hanke Borussia Munchengladbach VfL Bochum Tomasz Kuszczak Martin Olsson Brett Emerton Steven N’Zonzi Muset Ozil Gianpaolo Pazzini Leonardo Seydou Keita Miguel Pallardo Ibrahim Afellay Valdo Pallardo Damien Perquis Luka Modrid David SIlva Benoit Assou-Ekotto Vedran Corluka Saloman Kalou Clarence Seedorf Matteo Brighi Fabio Simplicio Rodrigo Taddei Mark Van Bommel Gennaro Gattuso Kevin Prince-Boateng Nicolas Burdisso Elkin Soto Pep Gaurdiola Lassana Diarra Antonio da Silva Robert Mak Heurelho Gomes Andre Marriner Pinto Alavro Arbeloa Alexander Hleb

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