Wesley Sneijder played for Real Madrid from 2007-2009. He was signed as a 23-year-old from Ajax and was immediately placed into Bernd Schuster’s starting XI. The center attacking midfielder hit the ground running with 4 goals and 1 assist in his first three games with the club. He and Guti were the stars of the show in Real Madrid’s 5-0 demolition of Villarreal at El Madrigal. Despite the positive start to life, his blossoming career never took off at Madrid. His best moments were those early games.
Now, at 36-years-old, Sneijder has written a tell-all autobiography, where he confessed to letting the Madrid nightlife get the best of him.
“I was not aware that moving to Real also meant I moved into the nightlife of Madrid. I got sucked into it. I was young, I was enjoying success and I was loving all the attention. That is where it must have gone wrong for me later in my life,” Sneijder admits in the book.
“I didn’t do drugs, but I did do booze and had a rock-’n-roll lifestyle as one of the stars of Real Madrid. All the things I was up to were all covered up. Even when I was absolutely drunk, rolling on the streets and spending thousands of euros paying for all the drinks in every place. I was weak and did not show any resistance. I let people treat me like a star. There was always a team-mate with me at Real Madrid – and usually that was Guti.”
During his time in Madrid, Sneijder’s first wife, Ramona Streekstra, filed for divorce as she had grown tired of the constant partying and lack of responsibility. A similar scenario occurred with his second marriage, to Yolanthe Cabau, which also failed after he refused to pull back on his drinking habits.
“I did not realize that my best friend was the vodka bottle,’ he added.
“Others pointed it out to me. Ruud van Nistelrooy said it, Arjen Robben said it. They were hammering me, telling me to keep my discipline as a player. They said I wouldn’t last long if I carried on like this.”
“I have done a lot of partying with a lot of bad friends around and women and booze. It got out of hand in a terrible way. I came clean and confessed everything to my second wife, Yolanthe, and told her my heart was with her. I don’t know what made me do it. Ego? Money. Power? Lust? Yes - but now I feel the pain because Yolanthe is now living in America. She was the woman of my dreams. I lost her because I ruined everything,” Sneijder explained.
The lasted revelations from Sneijder’s book cannot help but make fans wonder, “What if?”. What if he and Guti had the discipline of guys like Ronaldo, Ramos, Casemiro, and Carvajal. How much more could Madrid have achieved and how different would their legacies have been?