“Champion with Real Madrid (2008), champions, cup winners and Champions League winners with Inter Milan (2010) and in the same year World Cup runner-up with the Netherlands. Wesley Sneijder was one of the best and most successful playmakers in the world, with 134 international appearances in his home country.
The 36-year-old’s biography will be published on Friday. In it, Sneijder confesses that he tried to compensate for the enormous pressure to succeed at Real with excessive alcohol consumption.
The magazine “Voetbal International” published excerpts of the biography in which Sneijder writes: “There (at Real Madrid, ed. d. Red.) Bad things have happened. The problem was not drugs, but alcohol.”
The former national team-mate of Arjen Robben continued: “I was completely alone and did not realize that the vodka bottle had become my best friend. I was young, I liked success and I liked being the focus of attention.”
Sneijder: “I lied to myself”
He got used to living like a star. “You are revered when you play for Real Madrid. You go out, spend thousands of euros and pay for other people all the time.”
One problem at the time was the increasing pressure. Although he played pretty well, he was expected to still get better.
His alcohol consumption ultimately affected his performance. ‘Physically, I didn’t notice it at first. I got up the next day as if nothing had happened,” Sneijder writes. “Over time, however, I became worse and less concentrated in training. I lied to myself and said that everything was going well. I fully trusted in my footballing intelligence.”
Sneijder admits in the biography: “I ran less and hid from the coach. I thought no one would notice.”
Back to top form under José Mourinho
In 2007, Real signed him from Ajax Amsterdeam for 27 million euros. Sneijder scored 11 goals in 66 appearances for the Royals. In the 2007–08 season he won the Spanish Championship and the Super Cup, and in 2009 he moved to Inter Milan. He returned to his best form at the Italian club and won the treble under star coach José Mourinho in 2010.
In August 2019 he announced the end of his career, most recently Sneijder played with Lukas Podolski for Galatasaray Istanbul and in Qatar at al-Gharafa Sports Club.