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21 Nov, 2019 12:58

I could have been as good as Messi and Ronaldo but couldn’t be bothered, says ex-Dutch star Sneijder

I could have been as good as Messi and Ronaldo but couldn’t be bothered, says ex-Dutch star Sneijder

Former Holland ace Wesley Sneijder has claimed he had the talent to be considered alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but did not have the motivation.

Sneijder, 35, retired in August after a career which took in spells at giants such as Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

The winger made 131 appearances for his country, scoring 31 times, and helped the Dutch reach the 2010 World Cup final, where they were beaten by Spain.


Not a man known for his modesty, Sneijder has reflected on his career by claiming he could have reached the levels of Messi and Ronaldo – who boast five Ballon d’Or accolades apiece.

“I have to be honest and admit that I could have been mentioned in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo if I had been 100 percent committed,” Sneijder told Fox Sports in his homeland.

“But I didn’t want to do that and I have no regrets about it. It's not that I didn't have it in me, but I simply didn't want to do it.”

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The flying Dutchman won league titles in the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Turkey, as well the Champions League with Inter Milan, before ending his career at Al-Gharafa in Qatar.

I enjoyed my footballing career as it was, both on and off the pitch,” he said.

“I won every trophy I could win at club level, so I have no regrets at all. I am a team player and I like to be successful as a team.”

He added that his form in 2010 – the year he played in the World Cup final – meant he should have pipped Messi to the Ballon d’Or, rather than finishing fourth as he did.

“People still approach me to tell me that they feel I should have won the Ballon d'Or in 2010, but I keep telling them that winning the Champions League was nicer than an individual trophy.

“It would have been the icing on the cake, but it's satisfying that people tell me I should have won it,” Sneijder said.        

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