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Wesley Sneijder Is A Legend That Half The World Doesn’t Know

AC Siena was beating Internazionale Milan 3-2 in 2010. Inter would go on to win the treble that year; beating Barcelona along the way with one of the most classic “Mourinho parks the bus” defensive efforts of all time. Siena, on the other hand, would be relegated. An upset was on hand, but Wesley Sneijder was yet to have his final say.  

He stepped up to take a free kick in the 88th minute and I thought, “It couldn’t possibly be done.” He’s over 30 yards out. Straight on goal, yes, but having the best shooting angle possible hardly made the prospect of scoring from his position any more realistic. He was just so far out. 

And then he scored. 

It was ludicrous, absolutely unreasonable, and absolutely brilliant. He was so far out. How did he get so much power? How was he so accurate? 

It was all almost too much to take in at once, and the prospect of doing so became even more impossible when Samuel, Inter’s center-back of all people, turned the comeback into victory with a finish that would make you think he was paid to score goals, not prevent them. 

That night the glory of Italian football was on full display: A giant of Italy showing the heart of a champion, and Mourinho gesticulating on the sidelines as if he were telling the crowd, “You see?! This is greatness! Do you see!?!?”

Today that glory seems so far away, as well. Mourinho would leave to coach Real Madrid. Inter would see its financial problems become prohibitively unavoidable. And, Wesley Sneijder would eventually, inexplicably fall out of favor in Inter’s lineup.

Today, Juventus is the last remaining team guarding the honor of Italy. Inter and AC Milan are showing ambitions to return to their status as world-beaters, but they are far away from doing so. 

In much the same way, Wesley Sneijder has defended his own honor as the biggest names in soccer turn him down. He had played at Ajax, Real Madrid, and Inter. He was rumored to be a Manchester United transfer target every summer, but nothing ever came of it. He eventually moved to Galatasaray in Istanbul, Turkey. It all could have ended there, but he did not let it. 

Sneijder is waving a massive Galatasaray flag at the club's title winning celebration.

A hero at home. Photo: @yahya_ja | Twitter

They say you can judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can give him nothing. Well, Galatasaray could not offer the glory Sneijder missed out at at Real Madrid, and achieved at Inter. At the age of 29, it would have been depressingly ubiquitous for him to start mailing in performances, but no. Ever since he transferred to Galatasaray, he has scored goals as if his very honor depends on it, and they have all been beautiful. 

He has been nothing short of the biggest baller in Turkey. He has scored in the biggest matches of Galatasaray’s campaigns, and the fans have absolutely fallen in love with him because of it. 

He should go down in history as one of the greatest goal scorers the game has ever seen, not for the quantity of goals, but because of their undeniable quality. If his wife can melt a man’s trousers from across the room, then his goals can make that man take them off and wave them around in incredulous ecstasy.

Sneijder with his stunningly beautiful wife, Yolanthe.

It's no small feet upstaging Yolanthe. Photo: @yolanthecabau | Instagram

Wesley Sneijder is truly a hidden gem of modern football, and he deserves to be appreciated for all that he gives to the game. He provides moments of brilliance, many of which will not be seen by a world that ironically craves them.

So the next time you long to have your mind blown next, turn on Galatasaray. You just might be a part of something special, again and again. 

Follow me on Twitter: @yetly

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