Wesley Sneijder is one of the most decorated and successful Dutch football players of all time. As an attacking midfielder, he was an integral part of the Dutch national team for over a decade and played for top European clubs like Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.
Sneijder is best known for his playmaking abilities, passing range, set-piece taking and goalscoring from midfield. He was one of the standout players of the 2010 FIFA World Cup where he led the Netherlands to the finals. Sneijder has won numerous trophies throughout his illustrious career including the Champions League, Serie A title, La Liga title, Eredivisie title and more.
In this comprehensive biography, we will look at Wesley Sneijder’s life from his early childhood, breakthrough into professional football, successes at club and international level, relationships and his current endeavors.
Early Life and Breakthrough at Ajax
- Wesley Sneijder was born on 9 June 1984 in Utrecht, Netherlands.
- Showed talent for football at a young age and joined the Ajax youth academy at the age of 7.
- Progressed through the various youth teams and made his professional debut for Ajax aged 18 in 2003.
- Quickly established himself as an attacking midfield talent with excellent technique, vision and passing range.
- Helped Ajax win the Eredivisie title in 2004 at the age of 20.
- Became an integral part of the Ajax team under manager Ronald Koeman. Formed a great midfield partnership with Rafael van der Vaart.
- Sneijder won the Dutch Football Talent of the Year award in 2004 at age 20.
Success at Real Madrid, 2006-2009
- After impressing at Ajax, Sneijder was signed by Spanish giants Real Madrid in 2007 for €27 million.
- Had a difficult start to his Real Madrid career with fitness issues and stiff competition for places.
- After regaining full fitness, he proved his abilities and became a key player for Real Madrid in central midfield.
- Helped Real Madrid win the La Liga title in 2008 under coach Bernd Schuster, forming an excellent midfield trio with Mahamadou Diarra and Fernando Gago.
- Scored some important goals in the Champions League for Real, including a stunning last minute winner against Juventus in 2008.
- Relationships with managers and teammates were up and down during his time at Real Madrid.
- Overall had a successful spell at Real Madrid, making over 100 appearances and winning La Liga, before moving to Inter Milan in 2009.
Golden Era at Inter Milan, 2009-2011
- Signed for Inter Milan in 2009 for €15 million after Jose Mourinho personally requested the club to acquire him.
- Immediately became integral to Mourinho’s plans, helping transform Inter into one of Europe’s best sides.
- Strong performances in Serie A led Inter to the 2009-10 Scudetto, ending Juventus’ stranglehold. Sneijder scored many crucial goals.
- Excellent run in Champions League culminating in a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich in the final, completing a historic treble for Inter. Sneijder was one of the standout players of the season and midfielder of the year in Serie A.
- Continued his outstanding form into the 2010 World Cup where he led Netherlands to the final. Awarded the Silver Ball for 2nd best player.
- In 2010, Sneijder came 4th in the Ballon d’Or rankings, underlining his world-class status.
- Remained important for Inter in 2010-11, helping them win the FIFA Club World Cup against Congolese side TP Mazembe.
- Left Inter in 2011 at the peak of his powers with 116 appearances and 22 goals. Will be remembered as a club legend.
International Career for the Netherlands
- Sneijder made his international debut for Netherlands aged 19 in 2003.
- Represented the Oranje at 5 major tournaments – 2004 Euros, 2006 World Cup, 2008 Euros, 2010 World Cup and 2014 World Cup.
- A creative fulcrum of the Dutch midfield for nearly 12 years, earning 134 caps and scoring 31 goals. Captained the side on multiple occasions.
- Instrumental in Netherlands’ run to the 2010 World Cup final under manager Bert van Marwijk. Scored 5 goals earning him the Bronze Boot.
- Formed excellent midfield partnerships with the likes of Mark van Bommel, Rafael van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong and Kevin Strootman.
- Represented Netherlands at the 2014 World Cup under Louis van Gaal but the team underperformed and failed to qualify from the group stages.
- Continued to be selected regularly despite being past his peak until retiring from international duty in 2018. A Dutch football legend.
Later Career and Life After Retirement
- After leaving Inter, Sneijder had short spells at Galatasaray, Nice and Al-Gharafa towards the end of his playing career.
- No longer the dominant midfield force he once was, but contributed at Champions League level for Galatasaray.
- Announced his retirement from professional football in August 2019 after a glittering career laden with trophies and accolades.
- Works as a pundit for Dutch television and has indicated interest in coaching in the future.
- Ventured into business, opening a bar called The Tafel van Sneijder in his hometown of Utrecht.
- Sneijder has been an ambassador for large brands like Nike and EA Sports during and after his playing days.
- Known for his fashionable dressing sense and outgoing personality off the pitch. Has over 4 million Instagram followers.
- Married Dutch model Yolanthe Cabau in 2010, but their relationship ended in divorce in 2018. Remains devoted to their son, Jessey.
Achievements and Legacy
- One of the most decorated Dutch players of all time with 10 major career titles.
- Champions League winner with Inter in 2010, pivotal to the treble-winning side under Jose Mourinho.
- League titles in four different countries – Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Turkey.
- Second highest appearance maker for the Dutch national team with 134 caps between 2003 and 2018.
- Stood out at the 2010 World Cup, driving Netherlands to the final with 5 goals and 3 assists. Silver Ball winner.
- Recognition for his abilities with individual awards like Dutch Football Talent of the Year (2004), Serie A Midfielder of the Year (2010) and UEFA Midfielder of the Season (2009–10).
- Fondly remembered by former coaches and teammates for his creativity, vision and decisive impact in big matches.
- Despite issues with injuries and consistency in later years, Sneijder’s peak at Inter Milan and Netherlands makes him an all-time great.
- His trophy-laden career ensures he will be remembered as one of the most gifted and successful Dutch football stars. Has left a lasting legacy.
Net Worth and Sponsorships
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Wesley Sneijder has a net worth of approximately $35 million as of 2024. Here is a breakdown of his net worth over the years:
- Earned around $5 million per year during his time at Real Madrid from 2006 to 2009.
- At Inter Milan, he was one of the highest earners with an annual salary of $7.5 million.
- Was the highest paid player in the Eredivisie with Galatasaray, earning around $6 million per year.
- Additional income from performance bonuses and endorsements with brands like Nike, EA Sports and Beats by Dre headphones.
- Wise investments in real estate and businesses like his bar in Utrecht.
Some of Sneijder’s biggest sponsorship deals:
- Long-time Nike athlete, wore Nike Mercurial boots through most of his career.
- Global brand ambassador for EA Sports FIFA video games from
In conclusion, Wesley Sneijder had an illustrious football career spanning over 15 years. He was a creative genius and consistent match-winner who played a key role in the successes of Ajax, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and the Dutch national team.
Sneijder’s vision, passing range, goalscoring and ability to dictate games from midfield made him one of the best playmakers of his generation. His crowning achievement was the treble-winning season with Inter in 2009-10, where he drove the team to Champions League glory and was named UEFA Midfielder of the Season.
Though he had his share of ups and downs, Sneijder produced his best performances at the highest levels for club and country. His role in taking Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final was a testament to his world-class pedigree. With his trophies, records and longevity at the top, Sneijder has cemented his status as one of the greatest Dutch football players ever. His legacy is secure.
What is Wesley Sneijder best known for?
Sneijder is best known for being the creative fulcrum and assist-provider for the Netherlands team that reached the 2010 World Cup final as well as Inter Milan’s treble-winning side in 2009/10 under Jose Mourinho. He was one of the world’s best playmakers at his peak.
What was Sneijder’s most successful club spell?
Sneijder’s most successful club spell was with Inter Milan from 2009 to 2011 where he won the Champions League, Serie A title, Coppa Italia, FIFA Club World Cup and the individual award of UEFA Midfielder of the Season 2009-10. This was the peak of his club career.
How many trophies did Wesley Sneijder win?
In total, Wesley Sneijder won 27 major trophies in his club and international career including league titles in 4 countries. His haul includes 1 Champions League, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 Coppa Italia, 4 league titles and 3 Dutch Cups.
What individual accolades did Sneijder receive?
Some of Sneijder’s major individual accolades and awards include: UEFA Midfielder of the Season 2009-10, Serie A Midfielder of the Year 2009-10, Silver Ball at 2010 World Cup, Bronze Boot at 2010 World Cup, Dutch Football Talent of the Year 2004.
Why did Sneijder retire so early?
Sneijder retired professionally in 2019 at the age of 35 due to a persistent knee injury that hampered the final few years of his career. He spent his final season at Al-Gharafa in Qatar before retiring once the knee problems became too much.