Wesley Sneijder contends that he should have surpassed Lionel Messi for the 2010 Ballon d’Or, as Messi clinched the award for a historic eighth time in November.
Messi secured another Ballon d’Or in Paris last month, edging out Erling Haaland of Manchester City and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.
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Messi’s victory followed his leadership in securing a memorable World Cup win for Argentina in Qatar the previous December.
The aftermath of Messi’s eighth win sparked debates about whether he truly deserved the accolade, given his perceived lower contribution at the club level compared to his rival Haaland.
Haaland had set a record for goals in a Premier League season while winning the treble with Pep Guardiola’s team.
Amidst the controversy surrounding the 2023 award, another former rival, Wesley Sneijder, has voiced concerns about the 2010 Ballon d’Or, a prize he believes he should have won.
In 2010, the Dutch midfielder played a pivotal role in leading Inter Milan to a historic treble, triumphing in Serie A, Coppa Italia, and the Champions League under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.
Sneijder also made a significant impact on the international stage, helping the Netherlands reach the World Cup final in South Africa, where they lost 1-0 to Spain.
Despite his exceptional achievements, Sneijder, like many before and after him, was edged out by Messi for the Ballon d’Or in 2010.
In the aftermath of Messi’s eighth win, the Inter Miami star reignited the debate surrounding his chances for the prestigious award in 2010. Sneijder told AlHayah TV: “It was a bit unfair that I wasn’t crowned with the 2010 Ballon d’Or and Messi won it.
“Although I’m not the type of person to cry over it, the Ballon d’Or is an individual award and what I prefer is winning collective trophies. If I had to choose between the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, I would choose the Champions League I achieved. I am very happy with that title.”
A triumph against Spain in the World Cup final could have swayed the voting in his favor, but Wesley Sneijder and his Netherlands teammates were denied that outcome. Instead, an extra-time goal from Andreas Iniesta secured Spain’s first-ever World Cup title.
The defeat in South Africa is another match that the midfielder feels he and his team should have emerged victorious from.
“We deserved to win in 2010 against Spain,” he added. 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.”