Written By Onyeka Daniel
To say Lionel Messi is one of the best players to have ever played the beautiful game of football will not be so far from the truth as his records and performances are there for all to see and recently, he seemed to crown it all when he won the World Cup, the only major trophy missing in his successful career.
Consequently, he was awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, winning it a record eight times in his career. Of course, it can be argued that he was undeserving of several of those awards. After he was given the Ballon d’Or award recently, there were talks that Manchester City forward, Erling Haaland deserved it more for his exploit with the Cityzens, winning the treble with City last season.
There’s another edition that deserves a mention and this was in 2010, where a certain Dutchman was the star of the show for his Italian side, Inter Milan, who also won the treble under Jose Mourinho, but the Argentine was given the award. In 2010, Wesley Sneijder had the world at his feet.
As part of Mourinho’s famous Inter Milan side, Sneijder & co reached the Champions League final having already flexed their domestic muscles. The Scudetto and Coppa Italia had fallen to Inter, now all that was left was European glory. The Netherlands have never won the World Cup.
But they have come close with some of the planets best players. And when Sneijder put on one of the best individual performances of all time against Brazil, the tiny nation started to dream. It would all come unstuck in the final, as Andres Iniesta smashed the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg in Johannesburg.
Sneijder seemed to be the shoe-in for the Ballon d’Or, but it went the way of then-Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. “It was a little unfair that I didn’t win the 2010 Ballon d’Or and Messi did,” Sneijder, who hung up his boots in 2019 after a spell in Qatar, revealed in an interview with Alhayah TV.
“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. But, if I had to choose between the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, I would choose the Champions League. I am very happy with that title.”
The Dutchman added: “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 never came close to the individual award again, while Messi would go onto claim more than any player in history.
Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the eight time last month – beating Haaland and Kylian Mbappe to the prestigious award. Former midfielder Wesley Sneijder believes that Inter Milan will win the Serie A title, and Real Madrid will win the Champions League. He also predicted the winner of this season’s Scudetto and the winner of the UCL.
According to Sneijder, Inter will get their hands on domestic silverware. He believes that the Nerazzurri will finally get back to winning the honour they really covet, the Serie A title. But as far as the Champions League, the former midfielder is backing another of his old teams.
“Inter will win the Serie A title this season,” Sneijder said. “They’re in great form.” “And then Real Madrid will win the Champions League,” he said. “They have a great group. It’s an incredible club.” He further added. It should be recalled that Sneijder was bought from Real Madrid and made an immediate impact with Inter, helping them win the treble.
Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni will be out the Serie A match away to Napoli with injury, and according to reports, with the 24-year-old not traveling with the rest of the squad for the match. Bastoni is still recovering from a calf strain which he picked up during the international break.
The injury, which caused the Italian to miss EURO 2024 qualifiers against the likes of North Macedonia and Ukraine, has also caused him to miss two matches with Inter. First, Bastoni was out for last weekend’s league match against Juventus. Then, the 24-year-old also missed the Champions League group stage clash away to Benfica on Wednesday.
There had initially been some hope of Bastoni recovering for this potential title decider. He is not far away from being able to return to the pitch at this point. Therefore, it did not initially look unrealistic that Bastoni would at least be fit enough to make the bench.
But according to reports, there is no chance of that. Bastoni continued to work individually on his recovery program in training recently. He has yet to make a full return to training with the rest of his teammates. Therefore, the 24-year-old will not be ready to even come on as a substitute. However, Bastoni should certainly be fit in time for next weekend’s match against Udinese. Inter do not have a midweek match, and will get a rare occasion to spend the week resting up and training.