Doha (AFP) – Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder on Sunday called time on his glittering international football career and said he is likely to join Ronald Koeman’s national team coaching staff.
Sneijder made his decision to retire — after 14 years and a record 133 caps for his country — following a visit to Qatar, where the midfielder now plays, by Koeman this weekend.
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.
But although he is bringing down the curtain on his playing career, it is unlikely to be his last involvement with international football, he told AFP.
“I had 15 amazing years in the national team of Holland,” he said.
“There’s always a time that you have to leave and the time has come to give the chance to the new generation to new talents to show their qualities.”
He added: “Enough is enough. I am 33. This summer I will be 34. The next World Cup I will be 38, it’s nonsense, you know?”
He then revealed he had spoken to Koeman, only appointed national manager last month, about a coaching role with the team.
“Maybe, I will be close to the team. But we are going to talk about this in the next few weeks.
“We have a very good relationship and we talk about all the things.
“The feeling was very good, so probably I will stay close to the team.”
He was speaking in Doha after training with his Al Gharafa side as they prepared for an AFC Champions League game on Tuesday.
Holland surprisingly failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup in Russia and Koeman, sacked by English Premier League side Everton earlier this season, has been tasked with dragging the team back to top level of international football.
“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.
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 and in Spain and Turkey.
Sneijder also revealed that he wants to win a 134th cap to say goodbye to the Dutch fans, but wants to do that in Amsterdam.
“I want to play the game in the Amsterdam Arena, of course, and the next game planned is in the PSV (Eindhoven) stadium.”
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