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Sneijder set for final Dutch goodbye


AFP The Hague
Record-breaking Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder is set to play one last time for the national team next week, bringing an end to an illustrious career spanning 15 years and more than 130 appearances.
Netherlands national coach Ronald Koeman announced a 25-man squad Friday to face Peru in a friendly in Amsterdam next week, to be played in honour of Sneijder, a former Ajax, Real Madrid and Galatasaray midfielder.
"This is the final time Wesley Sneijder will form part of the selection camp," the Royal Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) said in a statement.
"The record-breaking international ends his national football career officially on Thursday with 133 caps to his name," it said.
One of the great playmakers of his era, Sneijder, 34, remains a versatile and always energetic midfielder.
He surpassed former goalkeeping great Edwin van der Sar's Dutch national 130-match record in June 2017 on his 33rd birthday.
He also finds himself in a small group of players who have been capped more than 100 times by the Netherlands, including Frank de Boer, Rafael van der Vaart, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Dirk Kuyt, Robin van Persie and Philip Cocu.
Known as the "Little Big Player", Sneijder made his debut for the national squad in 2003 against Portugal.
There were many highlights in his career, but Sneijder will be especially remembered for his header during the 2010 World Cup quarter-final against Brazil which the Dutch won 2-1.
It was Sneijder's first-ever international goal with his head.
The Oranje went on to lose 1-0 to Spain in the final.
He got some revenge four years later while making his 100th appearance, when the Netherlands demolished Spain 5-1 in Salvador in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup. Sneijder, who won the Champions League under Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan, currently plays for Qatari club Al-Gharafa.

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First Published: Aug 31 2018 | 10:00 PM IST

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