Wednesday 22 May 2024, 11:00

Sneijder: The Mundial de Clubes is a great initiative

  • Two of Wesley Sneijder’s former clubs have qualified for the tournament

  • Sneijder says the tournament also offers opportunities for clubs outside Europe

  • Inaugural Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ will take place in USA next year

Netherlands all-time great Wesley Sneijder knows a thing a two about what it takes to achieve success at the highest level. Sneijder is high among the many illustrious players to have represented the Oranje, boasting more FIFA World Cup™ appearances than any of his well-credentialed countrymen. The attacking midfielder even sits alongside 1978 sharpshooter Rob Rensenbrink with most goals (five) in the famed Dutch shirt at a single FIFA World Cup. Sneijder’s role in leading the Netherlands to within touching distance of a dream maiden FIFA World Cup crown in 2010, saw him awarded the tournament’s adidas Bronze Boot and adidas Silver Ball. A barely believable 12 months also included UEFA Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia crowns with Internazionale, all capped by a FIFA Club World Cup™ win at the end of the calendar year.

Sneijder believes the Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25™ is an exciting concept that will bring a new dimension to club football. “It’s a completely new experience, I do think it could be something great," Sneijder said. “I think it’s a great initiative, and I’m really curious about it myself as well. I hope it will be a big success and that we will all enjoy it.

“People always have to get used to new things. But I think we should all support this big international club tournament.”

Inter Milan's Brazilian defender Maicon and Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder (R) celebrate after their team won the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup

After spells at Ajax, Real Madrid, Internazionale, Galatasaray and Nice, Sneijder concluded a glittering club career at Qatar’s Al-Gharafa, leaving the Dutchman well placed to judge what the 32-team tournament will offer clubs outside his home continent. “The FIFA Club World Cup does give clubs from anywhere in the world, the opportunity to compete against the top European clubs,” said the FIFA Legend. “It’s going to be a fantastic competition and we should be thrilled about it.” The winner of this weekend’s AFC Champions League final between Al Ain (United Arab Emirates) and Yokohama F. Marinos (Japan) will join Ulsan Hyundai (Korea Republic), Al-Hilal (Saudi Arabia) and Urawa Red Diamonds (Japan) as the fourth and final Asian representative at the Mundial de Clubes FIFA 25.

Wesley Sneijder of the Netherlands celebrates scoring

The tournament will take place in the United States just a year before the expanded FIFA World Cup is co-hosted Stateside along with North American neighbours Canada and Mexico. “That’s also something new and I think that this is also going to be great and offers other countries an opportunity to play at the FIFA World Cup,” Sneijder said. “And if you want to be the best in the world, you have to be able to beat anyone. I think it’s a good opportunity for certain countries to compete at the FIFA World Cup. So this is a great idea as well.”