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August 8, 2017


After training on Tuesday morning, Wesley Sneijder faced the press for a frank exchange over 45 minutes. In English, the Dutch playmaker gave an insight into his move to the Gym.

Wesley, what are your first impressions?
I'm really proud! I'm here to help the team, stay at the highest level and continue showing my qualities. I feel good, the squad is very good. They play good football.

What was the main motivation for your choice?
I have always taken my decisions to experience new adventures and take on new challenges. I have done a lot of things in my career, I've won a lot of trophies, but I'm still hungry and I have come here to win trophies! I have seen the team's performances, the system: I didn't just discover Nice when they played Ajax. They're a team with young elements who want to play football. I am confident. And personally, the older I get, the better I feel…

Did the fact that Ligue 1 is attracting bigger and bigger names play a part?
Great talents and good players help a league develop, but — to be honest — I didn't come here for that. The most important thing for me is the team, and in this team, there are excellent players with a good attitude. I'm here for that, not because Zlatan has played in France or Neymar has come.

You're a man of character. Have the years meant you now look at football differently?
Of course I've matured, but I'm still a winner. I hate losing, that's just the way it is. And when I have to show my character, I do it. I hope the youngsters will follow me so we can do good things.

Was Mario Balotelli a factor?

I know Balotelli, but to make my decisions, I don't speak to other players. I speak to the coach, the club.

And the surroundings?
It's very nice in Nice, but it was also the case in Madrid or Milan. I didn't come here for that.


Can you explain to us how your career at Galatasaray ended?
It's not important to talk about my former club. It was an incredible adventure, but everything comes to an end. Today, I'm here to talk about Nice and the future.

Do you have the France-Netherlands game in the back of your mind?
It's at the end of the month, but I'm not thinking about that yet. Now, I'm focussed on the matches to come with the Gym. The World Cup in Russia? Of course I'd love to play in it. But I have to have a good season with Nice to be able to dream of that.

Will you be ready to face Troyes on Friday?
When the coach calls on me, I'm always ready, but not for Friday. I've had half a training session…

Are you particularly attached to the number 10 shirt?
It's not a big thing, but I have always worn it, at all my clubs and in the national team. When I have the chance to have it, I like to. Here, as everyone knows, another player had it. But we talked it over, and I'm going to be able to have it now.

In your opinion, does the Gym have a chance against Napoli?
I know Napoli, and of course we have a chance. It's very important to believe that. When you believe in something, you can achieve it, that's what I always say. In 2010, with Inter, we never thought we'd win the Champions League. As the matches and the season went on, we started to believe we could do it and we did.

Do you know the reputation of the Nice supporters?
I have heard a lot about them, and I know they are passionate. It's good to have that kind of pressure, I like that. A footballer wants pressure.