Former Dutch international Wesley Sneijder has admitted that his best friend was a bottle of vodka when he was a Real Madrid galactico.
Sneijder, 36, has revealed how he hit the booze in a big way during his two years at the Bernabeu following his £25million arrival from Ajax.null
He claimed that Madrid bosses managed to cover up the worst excesses of his party lifestyle – but that his love of a drink cost him his first marriage and the best years of his career.
Sneijder confesses it all in his new autobiography, saying: “I was not aware that moving to Real also meant I moved into the nightlife of Madrid.
“I got sucked into it. I was young, I was enjoying success and I was loving all the attention. That is where it must have gone wrong for me later in my life.
“I didn’t do drugs, but I did do booze and had a rock-‘n-roll lifestyle as one of the stars of Real Madrid. All the things I was up to were all covered up.
“Even when I was absolutely drunk, rolling on the streets and spending thousands of euros paying for all the drinks in every place.
“I was weak and did not show any resistance. I let people treat me like a star. There was always a team-mate with me at Real Madrid – and usually that was Guti.”
Sneijder’s first wife, Ramona Streekstra, left with the couple’s son Jessy when the player’s partying became too much and later filed for divorce.
But that was the cue for him to hit the bottle even harder.
Sneijder said: “I struggled on my own. I hate to be alone. And why would I if I had so many friends to spend time with? I did not realise that my best friend was the vodka bottle.
“Others pointed it out to me. Ruud van Nistelrooy said it, Arjen Robben said it They were hammering me, telling me to keep my discipline as a player.
“They said that if I carried on like this, I would not survive for long.”
Real won the La Liga title in his first season – but he was sold to Inter Milan for a cut-price £12million a year later.
He went on to lift the Serie A title, the Champions League and the Coppa Italia under Jose Mourinho.
Sneijder said: “I was not as good anymore, not focused, not concentrating.
“My professional attitude was not worthy of Real Madrid. I was lying to myself by claiming I was doing alright.
“In reality I only managed to stay in the team because of my football intelligence. Physically I went right down hill.”
Sneijder also lifts the lid on the huge gambling culture in the Holland squad.
He said: “Patrick Kluivert owed me 30,000 euro at one point – and I let him off.”
Sneijder added: “I have done a lot of partying with a lot of bad friends around and women and booze.
“It got out of hand in a terrible way. I came clean and confessed everything to my second wife, Yolanthe, and told her my heart was with her.
“I don’t know what made me do it. Ego? Money. Power? Lust? Yes – but now I feel the pain because Yolanthe is now living in America.
“She was the woman of my dreams. I lost her because I ruined everything.”