Wesley Sneijder retires: Netherlands great and former Real Madrid star calls time on football career


The former Real Madrid and Inter star has struck a business deal with Utrecht, having called time on his playing career

Former Netherlands star Wesley Sneijder has retired from football after arranging a business deal with Eredivisie side Utrecht.

The 35-year-old has been without a club since his 18-month deal with Qatari side Al-Gharafa ended in July.

He has signed a contract with Utrecht’s business arm and will be able to watch the team play from a private box this season.

“I have a lot of love for this city. Now that I’ve quit playing, I want a nice place to share my experiences,” he told the club’s TV channel.

Sneijder began his senior playing days with Ajax in 2002 and went on to play for Real Madrid, Inter, Galatasaray and Nice in a storied career in Europe.

His two seasons at Madrid saw him capture the  Liga title in the 2007-08 season and saw him move from success to success with his transfer to Inter in the summer of 2009. 

He was a star performer for Jose Mourinho’s Inter side of 2009-10, which won the treble of Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League titles.

Sneijder then inspired Netherlands to the final of the 2010 World Cup, where they lost 1-0 to Spain, and won the Silver Ball as the tournament’s second-best soccer professional.

His omission from the final three-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or of the same year was widely considered to be unjust.

Sneijder played 134 times for Netherlands from 2003 to 2018, becoming the most capped Dutch soccer professional of all time.

Following his days at Inter, which saw him add an additional Coppa Italia and Super Cup, Sneijder moved on to Turkish giant Galatasaray, where he enjoyed a five-year spell.

Sneijder captured a pair of Super Lig titles with the club, as well as three Cup triumphs in Turkey.

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An abbreviated stint with Nice in Ligue 1 followed, but after only five league games played for the French club, he joined Al-Gharafa, winning one QSL Cup during his time there. 

Sneijder becomes the most recent former Netherlands star to hang up his boots this summer.

Robin van Persie announced his retirement at the end of Feyenoord’s 2018-19 season, while Arjen Robben also called time on his career following his departure from Bayern Munich this summer. 


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