On the night of 29th August 2009, the San Siro crowd could barely believe their eyes during the warm-up. Despite having arrived at Appiano Gentile just two days before and hardly got to know his new teammates, Wesley Sneijder was set to start in the Derby. While the fans were still wondering about the correct pronunciation of his name, Wesley swiftly introduced himself to the black and blue half of the city.
Running, dribbling and through balls were all his speciality. The Dutch midfielder began the game with a dangerous shot in the fifth minute, before then forcing Gattuso to commit a foul worthy of a red card in the 40th minute. He ultimately left the pitch in the 74th minute, accompanied by the Curva Nord’s applause following a magnificent performance. Inter won 4-0, which came as a perfect prelude to the marvellous treble that season, one which the Dutchman played a vital role in. He starred as an atypical Trequartista, combining delicate touches and thunderbolts from distance, with precise assists and cutting through balls. He was truly the ideal No.10 in a classy side full of character, proving to be the last piece of the puzzle in forging José Mourinho’s dream team.
Thanks to the Portuguese coach’s intuition, who decided to place him among the heart of their attacking play, Wes shone. In 2010, he won all that could be won with his club, also reaching the World Cup final with the Netherlands and going close to Ballon d’Or success too. The San Siro loved him and crowd moved to the edge of their seats whenever there was a free-kick. Sneijder was able to score with both powerful or precise shots when it came to set-pieces, as he proved with a brace during an unforgettable comeback against Siena in January 2010. The highs and lows encountered in the following seasons will never undermine the fond memories felt by the fans. To them, he will always remain the infallible marksman who helped inspire Nerazzurri success.