Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder has ended speculation over his future by putting pen-to-paper on a new five-year contract with the Serie A club.
The 26-year-old Netherlands international has signed a deal with the Nerazzurri, which will keep him at the San Siro until 2015.
It’s a huge boost to the European champions, who stormed to an historic treble last season, thanks largely to the influence of their creative midfielder.
The Italian club’s president, Massimo Moratti, was naturally delighted to have kept hold of the 2010 Fifa Ballon d’Or contender.
“Sneijder became a key player for Inter last season and will be this year, and for many years to come,” he said.
The Inter midfielder was also an integral part of Netherlands’ run to the 2010 World Cup final, where they were eventually beaten by Spain in Johannesburg. Sneijder finished the tournament with five goals to his name – level with Golden Boot winner, Thomas Müller.
After such a formidable year for both club and country, Real Madrid supporters were left bemused as to why he was allowed to leave the Bernabeu in the previous summer. Former Inter boss, José Mourinho, brought Sneijder to Italy for around €15 million in 2009 – a deal which would prove to be the bargain of the season.
And the Serie A side have now agreed a contract extension with the player to fend off the Portuguese coach’s interest in re-signing him for the Primera Liga outfit – as well as a host of other major European clubs.
As one of the frontrunners for the coveted Fifa Ballon d’Or accolade, Sneijder has won the backing of his club president, although Moratti also reserved a mention for the Dutchman’s club teammates.
“Everyone is free to say that someone else must win, but it’s so clear that it will be up to him,” Moratti commented. “He launched Inter to the treble win and Holland to the World Cup final.”
“I have spoken about Sneijder winning the Ballon d’Or, but let’s not forget there are other candidates.
“There is Maicon, Julio Cesar and Eto’o. Why ignore them? They deserve it to, as does Diego Milito who has absurdly been omitted from the list.”
It’s expected that Sneijder will face stiff competition from Spanish duo Xavi and Andrés Iniesta for the prestigious award, as well as their Barcelona teammate, Lionel Messi.
The winner will be announced in Zurich on January 10th, and following his tremendous debut campaign with Inter and exploits in South Africa, few could argue that Sneijder deserves to become the first Dutchman to win the award since Marco van Basten in 1992.