The Galatasaray playmaker has described the Argentina star as a “crazy champion” but argued that his Oranje team-mate is just as important to Louis van Gaal’s side
Wesley Sneijder has claimed that Arjen Robben is the Dutch Lionel Messi ahead of Netherlands’ World Cup semi-final showdown with Argentina.
The 30-year-old has the utmost respect for Messi, who has been credited with carrying his country to the last four on the back of a succession of game-deciding performances.
However, Sneijder says that Louis van Gaal’s men are just as reliant on Robben, who has been in sensational form in Brazil so far.
“Argentina have Messi, a crazy champion, but we have the Messi of Holland, whose name is Arjen Robben and he’s having a fantastic World Cup,” the 30-year-old playmaker told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Arjen is as important for us as Messi is for Argentina.”
Sneijder was Netherlands’ star man in South Africa four years ago but this time around the focus has been firmly fixed upon Robben and his fellow forward Robin van Persie.
The Galatasaray man insists, though, that he is not in the least bit upset at having to play a supporting role in Brazil.
“Life is like this,” Sneijder mused. “The years pass and things change. I don’t care if Van Persie and Robben make more headlines in the papers.
“It’s not a game to see who becomes the most famous. It’s a game to see who wins the World Cup. My objective in 2010 was to win the cup, and it’s the same objective now.
“I also hope that Arjen wins the Golden Ball. There’s no jealousy in me. And it’s not only for him as a player either, because Arjen is also my friend.
“And if he wins the Golden Ball, maybe it will mean that it’s because he has won the World Cup. That way, everything’s perfect!”
Sneijder also insisted that he has put his disappointment at being stripped of the captaincy by Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal last year well and truly behind him.
“It was very hard, but I got over it,” the former Inter ace explained. “These things happen and now all of this no longer matters.
“Even without the armband, I’m just trying to be influential and to help the team when I can.”