Former Galatasaray star Sneijder retires from Dutch national team

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AFP Photo

Midfielder Wesley Sneijder is retiring from international football after 15 years and a record 133 appearances for the Netherlands.

The Dutch football association announced the retirement Sunday after new coach Ronald Koeman visited 33-year-old Sneijder in Qatar, where he plays for Al Gharafa.

In an article on the association's supporters website, the former Galatasaray star says he knew his choice to play in Qatar could affect his international career, "above all, I understand that Koeman wants to make a fresh start with younger players."

Sneijder has long been a key to Dutch successes. He was one of the best players and joint top scorer with five goals at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where the Netherlands lost to Spain in the final. He has had 133 caps for the national team and scored 31 goals.

Sneijder spent nearly four years at Galatasaray, making 175 appearances for the Istanbul giants. He promptly became a key player for the club as he went on to score 45 goals and setting up 44 more.

He has also played at other top clubs including Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan.

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