Former Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder, who retired from football in August this year, believes he would have been at Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s level, had he been more committed to his football career.
Sneijder began his senior playing days with Ajax in 2002 and went on to play for Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Galatasaray and Nice in his decorated career in Europe.
“I have to be honest and admit that I could have been mentioned in the same breath as Messi and Ronaldo if I had been 100 per cent committed. I know that,” Sneijder told Fox Sports NL as quoted by Goal.
“But I did not want to do that and I have no regrets about it. It’s not that I didn’t have it in me, but I simply didn’t want to do it,” he added.
Notably, the Dutch footballer was a key player for Inter Milan of 2009-10, which won the Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League titles.
“I enjoyed my footballing career as it was, both on and off the pitch. I won every trophy I could win at club level, so I have no regrets at all. I am a team player and I like to be successful as a team.”
In 2010, Sneijder stood fourth in the race for Ballon d’Or with Messi clinching the award ahead of Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
“People still approach me to tell me that they feel I should have won the Ballon d’Or in 2010, but I keep telling them that winning the Champions League was nicer than an individual trophy.
“Of course, it would have been the icing on the cake, but it’s satisfying enough that people tell me I should have won it,” the 35-year-old added.