Sneijder all smiles ahead of Bernabeu return

Wesley Sneijder had a smile from ear-to-ear as he spoke confidently about Galatasaray's intentions of taking the game to Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

The Netherlands playmaker returns to the home of a club he left in 2009 after failing to win a regular first-team place and the scene of his and Inter Milan's Champions League triumph over Bayern Munich in the 2010 final.

On top of that the 28-year-old is back playing football again, now with the Turkish league leaders, having disentangled himself from a contract dispute with Inter to move to Istanbul in January.

"It will be a lovely game for us and we are looking forward to it. We can't wait for tomorrow night to come," a beaming Sneijder told a news conference at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.

"I am not thinking about the three months I didn't play, only the last three months when I have been playing. I feel very good. I feel in good shape. I am happy, I feel confident."

Sneijder will be taking on his former boss from Inter, Jose Mourinho, under whom he won a treble of the Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup three years ago.

"All I want to say about Mourinho is that it is amazing to play against him tomorrow," he said.

"We had a great time together. But for one time we have to forget that. Tomorrow we are enemies. No more friends."

Considered by pundits as one of the weakest sides in the last eight of Europe's elite club competition, Sneijder displayed a bullish desire to prove doubters wrong about Galatasaray.

"It's very important to score an away goal, but it is more important not to lose and even more important to win," he said.

"We are here to win the game. We are not here to defend or to wait. We are here to play our own game.

"It is not a surprise we are in the quarter finals because we have a strong team and we are growing and growing every week. We are very confident.

"I say it again. We are here for the victory."

Asked about his thoughts of Turkish football after three months, the Dutchman said he was impressed.

"I was very surprised. The level is very high," he noted. "If I am honest, when I went there I thought maybe there are four or five good teams, strong teams, but every game is difficult.

"The level is getting higher and higher."


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