Wesley Sneijder is considering following in the footsteps of his former Netherlands teammate Arjen Robben and returning to playing football next season, according to Dutch media.
Sneijder, 36, will start training later this month with amateur club DOS Holland Stichtse Boys (DHSC), where his brother is on the technical staff, which could be the prelude to joining home town club FC Utrecht.
Sneijder, who enjoyed a glittering career playing for the likes of Ajax, Real Madrid and Inter Milan, last played professionally for Al Gharafa in the Qarar Sports League in 2019. He also won 134 caps for the Netherlands and played in the 2010 World Cup final.
His brother, Jeffrey Sneijder, told reporters the former Galatasaray midfielder was training with the club in a bid to improve his fitness.
"Wesley wants to lose weight and be busy. He did say that it might give him an itch to play again," Jeffrey said. "He's been out for a while. Wesley wants to experience what it is like to be back on the field after a while without football and regain the sense of enjoyment."
Last week, Utrecht's technical director Jordy Zuidam said he had spoken to Sneijder about a comeback.
"Let it be clear that a top fit Sneijder is very an interesting prospect for FC Utrecht but the ball is in his court," he told reporters.
Robben, who is also 36, last month announced he was returning a year after retirement to play with
boyhood club Groningen, where he has signed a one-season deal.
Players who returned after retirement
Arjen Robben: The Dutch winger announced last week that he is preparing to come out of retirement at his formative club Groningen. After leaving Groningen, where he made his debut aged 16, in 2002, Robben won league titles with PSV Eindhoven, Chelsea and Real Madrid before a hugely successful decade with Bayern Munich. He retired from Bayern a year ago at the age of 35, having helped the club to eight Bundesliga titles as well as the 2013 Champions League. Robben, a World Cup finalist in 2010, won won 96 Netherlands caps. Reuters
Stephen Carr: The Irish defender called time on his career on December 1, 2008 after being released by Newcastle United earlier that summer. His first retirement lasted only two months, however, as he signed a short-term contract at Birmingham City where he would spend another four years - captaining them to a League Cup title in 2011 - before injury forced him to hang up his boots for good. Getty Images
Johan Cruyff: The Dutch legend called time on an illustrious career in 1978 before returning to football for financial reasons a year later, having reportedly been scammed in Spain with false investments. Cruyff joined the Los Angeles Aztecs in the North American Soccer League followed by spells at the Washington Diplomats, Levante before a successful return to Holland with boyhood club Ajax and Feyenoord. Allsport
Carlos Roa: After starring for Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France, Roa took time out from football the following summer to take a religious retreat, despite reaching the final of the Copa Del Rey and Cup Winners’ Cup and winning the Spanish Supercup at Mallorca. A practising Seventh-Day Adventist, Roa refused to sign a contract extension at the Spanish club because he believed the world was going to end. When it didn’t, he returned with his tail between his legs to play out the final two years of his contract. He never recaptured the form that earned him 16 international caps, and called time on his career a second time in 2006 following a year at Olimpo in his native Argentina. Allsport
Paul Scholes: Six months after announcing his retirement in January 2008, Scholes was named on the bench for the Manchester derby by Alex Ferguson. The move took even his own teammates by surprise, but Scholes quickly shook off any rust to impress his influence upon the Red Devils. Scholes ended up making 21 appearances in the second half of the season and then stayed on for another year as United won back the Premier League title before Scholes called it a day for good, along with Ferguson. Getty Images
Jens Lehmann: The German left Arsenal in 2008 having been part of the 2003 'Invincibles' and retired two years later while at Stuttgart. Lehmann, who was sent off in the 2006 Champions League final defeat to Barcelona, answered an SOS from Gunners manager Arsene Wenger in 2011 when three of the Frenchman's keepers were injured. Lehmann put aside his feud with Manuel Almunia to sign as back-up, but after the Spaniard was injured in the warm-up ahead of a clash with Blackpool, the 42-year-old stepped in and played his part in a 3-1 win. Getty Images
Roger Milla: To think we may never have got to see that famous wiggle goal celebration by the corner flag, if Milla had his way. The Cameroon striker attempted to retire a year before his heroics at Italia ’90, initially bringing his playing career to an end in 1989. Milla moved to the Indian Ocean island of Reunion but was called back for duty by Cameroon’s president Paul Biya. Not content with the one World Cup, the forward carried on playing until the next, and at the age of 42 he was the oldest player to appear in the competition. His final international appearance came in a friendly against South Africa in December 1994 before Milla played his last club match in Indonesia two years later. Getty Images
Landon Donovan: The only player on this list to come out of retirement twice. MLS’ all-time top scorer first retired in 2014 but was asked to return in 2016 by Los Angeles Galaxy, the club where he made his name, while working as a TV pundit on a game which saw three first-team Galaxy players go off injured. He couldn’t help them to yet another MLS title though, and the two-time Everton loanee retired once more at the end of the season. On January 12, 2018, Donovan signed with Liga MX team Club Leon, playing six games. AFP
Marc Overmars: After a distinguished career turning out for Ajax, Arsenal, Barcelona, the Dutch national team, the flying winger was forced to retire in July 2014 due to a persistent knee injury. However, a fine performance in Jaap Stam’s testimonial match earned him invites from several German and Dutch clubs to rethink his decision to stay retired. In August 2008, Overmars announced his comeback with Dutch club Go Ahead Eagles. His comeback lasted only one season before Overmars called time again due to knee problems. Allsport