Every time Wesley Sneijder is linked with a move away from the Giuseppe Meazza it is no surprise that the Nerazzurri faithful despair at the prospect. In a period of two years, the Dutchman has become not only hugely admired by the fans but also a key component in the Inter machine.
Sneijder’s success can be linked in with the clubs he has represented. If you mention the names of the clubs which he has played for, Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter you already know that the player you are talking about is a talent of epic proportions. The young midfielder graduated from the famous Ajax youth academy making his first appearance in 2002. His performances not only gained him an Eredivisie title and two KNVB Cups but also a transfer to the iconic Real Madrid. His time in Spain was not a happy one and even though he picked up a Supercopa de España and a La Liga title he soon moved on to Inter.
In his press conference upon his arrival at Inter he said: “Leaving Madrid is not a defeat. They have treated me very bad, but I prefer not to speak, really. Inter are one of the biggest clubs in the world, for four years they have been Italian champions, and I am proud to wear the Nerazzurra jersey.” It is at the Giuseppe Meazza that Sneijder has blossomed into one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe. Jose Mourinho was quick to notice that the Dutchman was quick, strong and powerful with a low centre of gravity and had a sublime range of passing.
His ability to play with both feet saw him take up a role just behind the front two and he quickly began to create goals for anyone who was playing in front of him. As if this was not enough his ability from set pieces was almost faultless and his tendency to score the odd outrageous goal only acted as the silk bow wrapped around the perfect package. As Wesley Sneijder arrived so did the Nerazzurri, their joint trophy cabinet so far is incredible considering he only joined in 2009. This reads one Serie A title, two Coppa Italia’s, one Supercoppa Italiana, one UEFA Champions League title and a FIFA Club World Cup, not a bad haul in two seasons.
The secret behind the success is due to the fact that when Jose Mourinho, Rafael Benitez and Leonardo have managed Inter in this time the Dutchman has automatically through his ability demanded that the play be worked through him. When you have an array of trophies as previously mentioned what Coach can deny him this. The shape of the team has often changed. Two of the best examples of where the team have had to work around him last season were in Inter’s 5-3 league victory against Roma in February and in the 3-1 Coppa Italia win against Palermo in May.
Against Roma Leonardo played a 4-3-1-2 with Sneijder just behind Eto’o and Pazzini. The Brazilian had been playing a 4-3-3 in the Dutchman’s absence but as soon as he was back he dropped Milito in an instant. In this game Sneijder was given too much space he decimated the Roma midfield. Scoring early on he went on to supply the forwards with non stop service as well as bringing both full backs into the game on numerous occasions. Working well with Kharja beside him (it could have been any of the Inter midfield) he continued to influence with superb passing. Off the ball to he made sure that the Roma midfield spent more time chasing him than moving forward.
Against Palermo Leonardo employed a surprising 4-4-1-1, sacrificing a forward confident that Sneijder could supply Eto’o all day long. In this game the ex-Ajax star constantly managed to go free between the lines making the Palermo midfield unaware of his where abouts. With an assist to his name at half time he continued to find space and when he did receive the ball he would release it with deadly effect, his inter play with Eto’o was devastating and he eventually picked up another assist.
These are just two examples of what the Nerazzurri fans enjoy watching week in week out. He may not score as many as people would like, but this is not what his game is about. Finding space when space is not available, sublime passing, creating goals from any situation, this is what he is about. The reason Sneijder is so key to Inter is because if he is sold for any amount of money they will not be bale to replace him. They will have to change their entire system.