Inter Milan legend Wesley Sneijder knows a thing or two when it comes to elite-level high-pressure football.
The Dutchman, who retired in the summer of 2019, ended a well-traveled career in six different countries – most recently in Qatar. Now that he is venturing into other areas of life after football, Sneijder remains a passionate fan of the game with strong opinions.
Sportsmail sat down with the iconic playmaker at the launch of his new Italian wine brand for an in-depth chat about Jose Mourinho and his return to Italy, how Chelsea are his favorites in the Champions League final against Man City, and why his former club Inter needs this one. summer sign a specific free agent.
Wesley Sneijder spoke to Sportsmail about various football-related topics
Are you happy to see Jose Mourinho in Italy again?
‘Mourinho in Rome is a great asset to all of Italian football and to the club, but Roma don’t have the players to compete directly for the Scudetto.
‘Mourinho is an added value, but it will be necessary to see what the club will do on the transfer market and which players they will buy.
‘Serie A is tough and competitive and this year we have seen and admired how balanced a tournament can be.
“I’ll send my best wishes and I’ll follow him on TV.”
The playmaker is confident that Jose Mourinho will succeed with Roma in Italian football
What does Mourinho’s Roma need to win immediately?
‘Roma must buy at least two very strong players, two top players.
‘I don’t know how much they can spend in the market, but Mourinho will make a fundamental contribution.
‘You can do great things with the team, but no one wins alone, not even Mourinho.
‘I am very attached to him, he is the best there is. I know this well because of everything I have gained with him. ‘
There is a lot of work to be done with the Roma team and Sneijder insists Mourinho is supported
We might be about to see a major rivalry between Mourinho and Antonio Conte, but are they similar managers?
‘Mourinho is not like Conte and vice versa.
‘Mourinho is unique and I know him well. Everyone is different in some things, but I wouldn’t compare the two coaches.
‘They are both very strong and also very different.
Now Inter must try to win in Europe in order not to end up like Juventus, who only won in Italy without ever making the Treble my Inter.
“Now we need this step to grow further as a club in the history of European football.”
So let’s talk about your former club Inter Milan: has Romelu Lukaku surprised you this season?
‘Yeah, I didn’t think he would do so well in this Serie A.
‘I didn’t think he could get this strong and improve so much compared to Manchester United’s recent dark period.
It is thanks to Italy and Antonio Conte, who made him one of the top No. 9 in Europe.
‘To be honest, I didn’t bet on him, but I was wrong. He’s strong, he runs and fights like a Marine. ‘
Romelu Lukaku has become one of the best No. 9s in the world under Conte, says Sneijder
Does this Inter side resemble Sneijder’s Inter?
‘Inter earned the Scudetto and there are a lot of top players, but they are not as strong as what I had on the team in the Treble year.
‘[Christian] Eriksen has changed the team for the better and I am happy for him because he struggled in the beginning and came from another top European club like me.
‘I celebrated it with the 2010 group that won Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League in Whatsapp chat [when Inter lifted the title this season].
“We always feel very united, we are all happy with our former team and now we hope that Inter also wins outside of Italy.”
If you were Conte, which free agent would you be aiming for, Memphis Depay or Georginio Wijnaldum?
‘I would definitely buy Depay because there is no such player in Italy [like him] while for Wijnaldum Inter have no problems in the team with Eriksen and (Arturo) Vidal.
Depay is not very coveted, but he is a top player who would get along with Lautaro Martinez and Lukaku, he would be a great buy on the free list.
“Wijnaldum is a good player, Depay is an excellent player for me.”
Sneijder thinks Inter should keep an eye on his fellow countrymen Gini Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay
Looking at the Champions League final, are Chelsea and Manchester City the best clubs in Europe right now?
‘Yes, those are the two best clubs. For me, Chelsea wins.
‘They are a strong team [Thomas] Tuchel and they have a great coach: they have already beat Manchester City and for me they are the favorites.
‘I have seen Chelsea play many times and I am proud and strong. I am happy that these two teams are now at the top of Europe. ‘
Sneijder thinks City and Chelsea represent the best in Europe, but supports the latter to come out on top