Did the Dutch really require three men to lift tiny Wesley Sneijder? Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Oh, my dear sweet Wesley. Your little bald head, your quick darting runs, your ability to use both feet...it all just wants to make me murmur, "As you wish."
Just kidding! This won't be one of those ga-ga love notes. I may like Wesley Sneijder, but I don't like-like him. I just can't stop myself from quoting the Princess Bride. Anyway.
Wesley Sneijder. Midfielder for Inter Milan, but don't judge him just by that. I despise anything that comes out of the San Siro, but I still find myself watching Inter when he's on the pitch--although I certainly prefer it when his normally flawless shots miss the target.
I much prefer Wesley in oranje, to be honest. Such as when he scored five goals in the World Cup this summer. He scored the winner against Japan to help the Netherlands win their group, and bagged a brace against Brazil to bring his team into the semi-finals. Whether it was a left-footed strike, a right-footed free kick or (amazingly) a headed short, World Cup opponents had everything to fear from The Flying Dutchman.
Sneijder was named Man of the Match four times in South Africa, leading the Dutch to the final against Spain (in case you forgot already) while his teammates continued to break themselves or break opposition players. His impressive World Cup performance is certainly part of the reason he's been nominated for the Ballon d'Or, but that's not the only reason Sneijder is up for European Footballer of the Year. He also helped lead Inter to the treble, winning Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Champions League, scoring four goals in Serie A and three in the Champions League.
While I don't think Wesley Sneijder should be anyone's top choice for player of the year--it's clear that honor belongs to Lionel Messi--there's nothing wrong with showing the diminutive midfielder some love for an impressive year. He'll even let you throw him over your shoulder or toss him in the air. He's an interactive pocket player!