The Dutch veteran has been adamant he could have pushed himself to be one of the very best in the game but has no regrets he didn’t
Wesley Sneijder believes he could have been mentioned in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo if he was more committed.
The 35-year-old retired as a soccer professional in August after hanging up his boots following a stint in Qatar with Al-Gharafa.
Across a decorated career that saw him play for Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Nice, Sneijder won domestic titles with each and also lifted the Champions League in 2010.
Individually, however, the Netherlands international often fell just short of silverware, a fact he has been well aware of but isn’t bothered by.
Sneijder in fact believes he could have rivalled the game’s very best players had he given everything to the game.
“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 per cent committed. I know that,” Sneijder told Fox Sports NL .
“But I did not 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.
“I enjoyed my footballing career as it was, both on and off the pitch. I won every trophy I could win at club level, so I have no regrets at all. I am a team soccer professional and I like to be successful as a team.
“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.
“Of course, it would have been the icing on the cake, but it’s satisfying enough that people tell me I should have won it.”
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Sneijder finished fourth in voting for the Ballon d’Or in 2010 with Messi taking home the award ahead of Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
Since retiring as a soccer professional, Sneijder has returned to the Netherlands and signed on with Eredivisie side Utrecht as part of a business deal.
“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 in August.