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BALLON D'OR

Ex-Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder: “Lionel Messi’s 2010 Ballon d’Or win was unfair”

Sneijder won the Champions League, Serie A and more with Inter, and also reached the 2010 World Cup final with the Netherlands.

Update:
Sneijder won the Champions League, Serie A and more with Inter, and also reached the 2010 World Cup final with the Netherlands.
SARAH MEYSSONNIERREUTERS

Former Real Madrid midfielder Wesley Sneijder retired from soccer from 2019, nine years after he was seen as one of the frontrunners to win the Ballon d’Or. In 2010, he won the Champions League-Serie A-Coppa Italia treble with Inter Milan and then came agonisingly close to winning the World Cup with the Netherlands, losing in the final to Spain.

The Dutchman ended the year with five trophies, including the Italian Super club and FIFA Club World Cup, but ultimately finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or rankings, with Lionel Messi winning for the second successive year and Barcelona teammates Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández second and third respectively.

Champions League over Ballon d’Or

Sneijder revealed in an interview with Egyptian television channel Alhayah TV that he is still unhappy about how it all unfolded but that he “won’t cry about it”: “It was a bit unfair that I didn’t win the 2010 Ballon d’Or and that Messi won it. Although I’m not a guy who will cry about it. The Ballon d’Or is an individual award, and I prefer to win team trophies. If I had to choose between the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, I would choose the Champions League that I won, I am very happy with that title.”

Wesley Sneijder was one of the stars of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
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Wesley Sneijder was one of the stars of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Richard HeathcoteGetty Images

Sneijder also has a feeling of what could have been when the looks back to that World Cup: “We deserved to win in 2010 against Spain, but they were an incredible team and beat us. Reaching the final was a fantastic achievement and one I always dreamed of but I am still heartbroken about losing that match.”

Sneijder predicts Champions League glory for Real Madrid

The 39-year-old also offered some predictions for how this season will unfold and is confident of success for two of his former teams. “Inter Milan will win Serie A, they’re doing very well. And why can’t Real Madrid win the Champions League again? They’re an incredible club, fierce competitors who have lots of quality and experience. Yes, I think they will win it this year.”

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