Name: Wesley Sneijder
International Caps: 76
Wesley Sneijder has earned the title as the world's No. 1 attacking midfielder. The Inter playmaker played a significant role in the club's treble-winning 2009-10 campaign, and was later named to the 2010 FIFPro World XI. The Dutchman has enjoyed great success for club and country, on the way to becoming the best player at his position.
Sneijder's unmatched technical ability distinguishes him as an exceptionally talented attacking midfielder. The Inter No. 10 has a strong range of passing, which has been key to his success as the club's primary playmaker. He can spread the play by hitting long cross-field diagonals, or combine with teammates in midfield. Sneijder excels passing over distance, but he has the technique and skill to play one and two-touch football.
The Dutchman's technique and ambidexterity make him a unique playmaker. Unlike most one-footed attacking midfielders, Sneijder is comfortable playing with both feet. His ability to play short and long passes with either foot opens more passing angles.
Furthermore, his ambidexterity allows him to make passes that other players would not attempt. Sneijder's passing with both feet helps dictate tempo and orchestrate the attack. The Dutchman is not forced to play negative passes due to a weaker foot, which allows him to keep possession higher up the pitch. In addition, his exceptional technique makes him less predictable on the ball.
Sneijder's world-class shooting ability makes him a genuine goal-scoring threat from midfield. The Dutchman strikes the ball with great power and accuracy. With his outstanding technique, Sneijder has become one of the most dangerous distance shooters in Europe. He can strike through ball with pace or hit a curling effort into the far corner. Comfortable shooting on either foot, Sneijder can score from in and around the box.
The Inter midfielder has developed into a set-piece specialist as well. Sneijder gets good whip on his free-kicks, striking with enough power and curl to get the ball over the wall and past the keeper.
Although he boasts impressive technical ability, the Dutchman is a creative playmaker as well. Sneijder does not play with the imagination of other elite attacking midfielders, but he has great vision and the skill to find teammates with a killer through-ball. He sees the smallest openings, and delivers well-weighted passes with either foot. The Inter playmaker can pick out a player through multiple defenders.
Standing at 5'7'', Sneijder lacks the physical size of most players. However, he has good quickness and strength to compensate for his height. The Dutchman plays with determination, tenacity and a true winner's mentality.
After impressive displays for both club and country, Inter's chief playmaker has become one of the best players in world football.
Although Özil was a serious contender for the No. 1 ranking, Sneijder emerged as the top attacking midfielder.
The Dutchman has been in sensational form over the past two years, winning the treble with Inter and reaching the World Cup Finals with the Netherlands. He was a key figure for both teams, assuming the primary playmaking and creative responsibilities. The Inter midfielder claims the top spot with his superior technique, ambidexterity and shooting ability.
Although Sneijder does not have Özil's outstanding imagination and clever passing, the Dutchman is one of the most talented playmakers in Europe. His ability to pass and shoot with both feet makes him a dynamic attacking midfielder. Sneijder also moves above the young German with his great intangibles and the ability to score goals from midfield.
Silva has the creativity and passing skill to challenge for the top spot. However, the Dutchman edges out the City playmaker with his goalscoring ability and ambidexterity.
At 27 years of age, Sneijder is in the prime years of his footballing career. He has consistently performed at an unbelievable level, and has developed into a well-rounded and dangerous playmaker.
Özil, Silva and Nasri will continue to challenge for the top spot, but Sneijder is undoubtedly the No. 1 attacking midfielder in the world.