The Dutchman was hauled off after 45 minutes against Real Madrid, and it can now be safely said that the old Sneijder will never return
By Enis Koylu
Wesley Sneijder's dreadful display against former team Real Madrid was undoubtedly the final nail in the coffin for his hopes of re-establishing his place at Europe's top table.
The Dutchman has been in almost irreversible decline since falling out of favour at Inter and, as predicted by Goal.com in January, his switch to the Turkish Super Lig has done little to stem the tide.
His fall from grace with the Nerazzurri was astonishing. After leading them to an historic treble in 2010, the succession of unsuccessful coaches at San Siro and his injury problems saw him fall away from the first team, exemplified by the club's demands that he must accept a paycut to stay.
|THE DOWNWARD SPIRAL|
| AGAINST BESIKTAS
|Entering the game after 57 minutes, Sneijder did not look ready for action.|
| AGANST SCHALKE (H)
|Failed to impress on his Champions League return and was hauled off at the break.|
| AGAINST ESKISEHIRSPOR
|Struggled to make any kind of impact, and was a complete passenger.|
| AGAINST GENCLERBIRLIGI
|Didn't seem to understand his role and was replaced after just 58 minutes.|
| AGAINST REAL MADRID
|Barely a factor, he could not inspire his team with any creativity. Subbed at half-time.|
Sneijder's move to Galatasaray this January gave him the opportunity to star in the Champions League and prove everyone wrong. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, though, he has failed to justify the Istanbul club's €25.5 million total outlay for him.
While Didier Drogba, the other big name who made his way to the Turk Telekom Arena, took just five minutes to make an impact in a yellow and red shirt, Sneidjer's performances have been poor.
He has been sacrificed at half-time in two of his three Champions League games with the club, the home leg against Schalke in the last 16 and Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Real Madrid, and his inability to play in any position but 'the hole' left his side with an abominable lack of width which ultimately led to their downfall.
Sneijder's domestic form has not been much better. A complete passenger for many games, he has only scored twice, against Orduspor and Kayserispor - perfectly ordinary teams whom Galatasaray would have beaten anyway.
The nadir was his performance at the Bernabeu. Playing at his old home against his old coach, Jose Mourinho, on the world's biggest stage, Sneijder was a non-entity, leaving coach Fatih Terim to make excuses for another shoddy showing.
"Sneijder was taken off at half-time," he commented after the match. "Not because he was injured, but because he worked hard and was tired."
The truth is, though, Sneijder is enduring the same problems he suffered after Mourinho's departure from San Siro. His deployment forces a tactical reshuffle, and the resultant lack of width handed Madrid the advantage.
His signing by Galatasaray was an unnecessary one, born out of the ruthless ambition of president Unal Aysal, who seems more concerned with increasing Galatasaray's global brand than creating a cohesive football team.
When Sneijder signed for Galatasaray, he admitted that he was no longer in the world's top five players. Well, he probably isn't in the top 100 any more, either.
Gala will be back. They look good value to secure the Super Lig title once more, but Sneijder does not look to be the man to lead the club to a fresh wave of success, particularly given the heroics of the likes of Burak Yilmaz and Selcuk Inan on a regular basis.
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