Most young footballers dream of one day being given the chance to represent Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are without question the biggest football club on the planet, one that consistently attracts the best players.
Back in 2007, the Spanish giants demonstrated their immense pulling power once again by snapping up Wesley Sneijder from Ajax.
The Dutchman was one of the most sought-after players in the world, but his two years with Real Madrid did not go to plan.
He never really lived up to expectation and in 2009, Sneijder sought pastures new and signed for Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan – where he grew into one of the best players on the planet.
So what went wrong at Real Madrid? Well, the Dutchman has revealed all in his new autobiography, citing Madrid’s nightlife and his struggles with alcohol as the primary reasons for his downfall.
Sneijder writes, per Mirror: “I was not aware that moving to Real also meant I moved into the nightlife of Madrid.
“I got sucked into it. I was young, I was enjoying success and I was loving all the attention. That is where it must have gone wrong for me later in my life.
“I didn’t do drugs, but I did do booze and had a rock-‘n-roll lifestyle as one of the stars of Real Madrid. All the things I was up to were all covered up.
“Even when I was absolutely drunk, rolling on the streets and spending thousands of euros paying for all the drinks in every place.
“I was weak and did not show any resistance. I let people treat me like a star. There was always a team-mate with me at Real Madrid – and usually that was Guti.”
Sneijder says his party centric lifestyle led to his first wife, Ramona Streekstra, filing for divorce and the Dutchman says that only made matters worse.
“I struggled on my own. I hate to be alone. And why would I if I had so many friends to spend time with? I did not realise that my best friend was the vodka bottle.
“Others pointed it out to me. Ruud van Nistelrooy said it, Arjen Robben said it They were hammering me, telling me to keep my discipline as a player.
“They said that if I carried on like this, I would not survive for long.
“I was not as good anymore, not focused, not concentrating. My professional attitude was not worthy of Real Madrid. I was lying to myself by claiming I was doing alright.
“In reality I only managed to stay in the team because of my football intelligence. Physically I went right down hill.”
It’s a stark reminder of the difficulties players face when they’re treated like a superstar at either Real Madrid or Barcelona.
Ronaldinho struggled to cope with attraction of Barcelona’s nightlife and like Sneijder, it ended up costing him his career in Spain.
- Takefusa Kubo’s amazing dribble vs Real Madrid
- Sergio Ramos scores stunning free-kick against Mallorca
- Piers Morgan says he’d pick Cristiano Ronaldo over Lionel Messi