Wesley Sneijder Fizzles for Galatasaray Against Real Madrid in Champions League

Michael CummingsWorld Football Lead WriterApril 3, 2013

GELSENKIRCHEN, GERMANY - MARCH 12: Wesley Sneijder of Galatasaray reacts during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between FC Schalke 04 and Galatasaray AS at Veltins-Arena on March 12, 2013 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.  (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
Lars Baron/Getty Images

In the spring of 2010, Wesley Sneijder was perhaps the most influential player on Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan team that won the UEFA Champions League.

On Wednesday night, the Dutch midfielder was a 45-minute passenger, as his Galatasaray deservedly lost 3-0 at Mourinho's Real Madrid.

In other words, it's no stretch to say it's been a long three years for Sneijder, who joined Galatasaray this past winter after a nasty and protracted contract dispute with Inter. But until Wednesday's quarterfinal first leg, we had not seen quite so vivid an illustration of just how far Sneijder has fallen.

In his 45 minutes on the pitch, Sneijder took just 19 touches, second-fewest among Galatasaray players. As a point of comparison, consider that his replacement, Gökhan Zan, had 31 touches in the same amount of playing time (via WhoScored.com).

Nor did Sneijder do much with his touches. Overall, the Dutchman completed 14 of his 17 attempted passes for a respectable rate of 82.3 percent. But most of the passes went backwards or sideways, as the graphic courtesy of the FourFourTwo Stats Zone App shows below:



Sneijder attempted only four passes in the attacking third. Only one, to the right flank, succeeded. Three others down the middle failed, as the graphic below illustrates:


So who's to blame? Has Sneijder regressed so much, or was Wednesday's failure an issue of management?

There's some reason to suggest the latter. Playing both Sneijder and Drogba in the same side clearly did not work for Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim:

Regardless, Wednesday's performance showed in a striking way how different a player Sneijder is in 2013, compared to the brilliant creative midfielder he was in 2010.