Former Netherlands international and Champions League winner Wesley Sneijder has retired from professional football at the age of 35.
The midfielder’s contract with Qatari side Al-Gharafa expired in July and he has decided not to pursue a new club, revealing the decision as he starts a new project with Eredivisie club Utrecht in his homeland.
Sneijder came through Ajax’s fabled academy in the early noughties, making 180 appearances for the club, while winning the 2004 Eredivisie and two KNVB Cups before moving to Real Madrid.
While he also won La Liga in 2008 during his two-year spell with Los Blancos, he is best remembered for his time at Internazionale, where he was a key player in Jose Mourinho’s treble winners of 2010.
As well as lifting the Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia that year, Sneijder also finished as a runner-up in the World Cup in South Africa with the Netherlands and was awarded the Silver Ball (for the tournament’s second-best player).
Later in his career he also won a two Super Lig titles with Galatasaray in Turkey, taking his tally of league titles to five in four countries, and featured for Nice and Al-Gharafa.
With 133 caps, Sneijder is also his country’s most capped player of all time.
Upon his retirement from playing, the former playmaker has signed a contract with his local team Utrecht to be part of their ‘business club’ and will watch the team play from a private box this season.
“My love for the city of Utrecht is great and I have a very good relationship with Frans van Seumeren [Utrecht owner]. We have always talked about getting together and now we have put the deed to the word. I look forward to a great season in Stadium Galgenwaard!” he told the club’s official website.