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Sneijder not selected for backyard kick-about with son

Despite his abundance of natural talent and unquestioned ability to turn a game, Wesley Sneijder was left out of yesterday evening's garden kick-around with son Jessey in favour of an avuncular neighbour.

It has been a tough season for Dutch international Sneijder, who has been frozen out at Inter after refusing to take a pay cut to his £4.8m salary.

Sneijder has been repeatedly left out of the starting XI by coach Andrea Stramaccioni and hasn't even been issued a standard team shirt, instead being expected to fashion his own.

The latest blow to Sneijder's pride has come closer to home, at his house, when he discovered late yesterday afternoon that he hadn't been selected to play against his six-year-old son.

Wife Yolanthe Cabau instead opted to call on well-meaning next-door neighbour Enzo Giacomello, a slightly portly 56-year-old account manager for a refrigeration firm in Como.

Giacomello, whose last outing was a tense 4-2 victory over his nephew Michele nearly six years ago, admitted he was surprised but flattered to get the nod.

"It came somewhat out of the blue," he told FourFourTwo. "Wesley has had his struggles, which have been well publicised, but he can clearly still do a job at this level.

"It was a bit of a shock when I arrived to play and found Wesley staring forlornly out of the window - I had presumed he wasn't around.

"Given that he's the boy's biological father and a professional footballer, whereas I'm some guy called Enzo, I would've expected him to be chosen, but those aren't my decisions to make."

Despite appearing in the 2010 World Cup Final, Sneijder's form has been poor against Jessey, who seems to be something of a bogey opponent.

Sneijder has lost his last three games against his young son, including a heartbreaking 20-19 defeat a month ago that saw the older player blow away a sizeable lead after a costly decision to check on Jessey's dinner in the oven.