Real reject Sneijder lights up Bernabeu

MADRID - Revenge was far from Wesley Sneijder's mind when he showed former club Real Madrid what they were missing with an inspirational display in Inter Milan's Champions League final victory on Saturday.

The diminutive Dutch playmaker, 25, returned to the Bernabeu a year after being discarded to help pay for their multi-million euro rebuilding programme, and ended up lifting the European Cup with the Italians after a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich.

"I didn't come here looking for revenge. That kind of thing can work against you," the World Cup-bound Dutch international told reporters. "I admit, I never expected to win three titles (by moving to Inter).

Sneijder is typical of the type of player Jose Mourinho has cultivated in his Inter team, snapping him up for 15 million euros, after Real paid 67 million for Brazilian playmaker Kaka.

The hard-working midfielder was the creative outlet behind their quick-breaking forwards, and laid on the opening goal for Diego Milito in the first half, exchanging a quick one-two with the Argentine who is also heading tor South Africa.

Sneijder took nearly all Inter's free-kicks and only ever had one objective - to shoot at goal no matter the distance.

When Bayern had the ball he tirelessly chased and closed down opponents, the fluorescent orange flashes on his boots a blur of activity.

"It was a team performance," he said. "We knew their backs were slow so we had to get at them. Mourinho told us to press forward.

"We were better than just effective," he responded when told that Bayern captain Mark van Bommel had said the most effective team won the match.

The news that Mourinho was set to leave was a blow, he said.

"He is the architect. He designed the way we played and we executed the plan. We'll lose the architect of the team."

When asked if he would follow Mourinho, perhaps back to Real Madrid, Sneijder quipped: "Inter won't let me!

"He was the one who came in for me, but it is too soon to go back (to Madrid)."

It was a joyous night for Sneijder, but not so for his Dutch international team-mate on the Bayern wing Arjen Robben, another player shown the door by Real last year.

Robben, who was offloaded for 12 million euros, was the Munich side's main threat, tirelessly running at defenders all night, and was subjected to some tough tackles.

A hug from Mourinho on the touchline during the first half showed the respect the Portuguese still had for Robben from their days together at Chelsea but Inter's disciplined defence managed to snuff out most of the danger he created.

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