Dutch pass master Sneijder takes international retirement


The Hague (AFP) – Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder has decided to end his international football career after 14 years and a record 133 caps during a golden era for his country.

Alongside Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie and Mark van Bommel, Sneijder propelled the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final where an extra-time goal from Andres Iniesta saw Spain win the title.

At 33, Sneijder signed with Qatari outfit Al Gharafa in January after a poor six-month stint at Nice in France.

The Netherlands suffered the indignity of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup despite having reached the 2014 semi-finals. They recently appointed Ronald Koeman as the new national coach.

The former Barcelona defender went to see Sneijder in Qatar this weekend.

“I understand that Koeman wants a fresh start with younger players. We spoke openly about it and I respect his decision,” said Sneijder.

He played at three European championships and three World Cups in the orange shirt and in his prime was both a masterful long-range passer and slick finisher.

In club football he starred for Ajax, Real Madrid and above all Inter Milan, with whom he won a Serie A, Italian Cup and Champions League treble in 2010.

He also won league titles in his homeland, Spain and Turkey.

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