Inter Milan coach: Pay rebel Sneijder is not a ‘victim’

Updated 5:56 PM EST, Sun December 2, 2012
Inter midfielder Wesley Sneijder, left, celebrates with head coach Andrea Stramaccioni after scoring against Udinese in April.
Inter midfielder Wesley Sneijder, left, celebrates with head coach Andrea Stramaccioni after scoring against Udinese in April.
PHOTO: AFP/Getty Images

Story highlights

Wesley Sneijder again not selected for Inter Milan's win over Palermo on Sunday

Netherlands international is in a pay dispute with the Italian club

Players' union says it is a key example of clubs "blackmailing" their employees

Spain striker Fernando Llorente has been dropped by his club in contract dispute

(CNN) —  

Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni has rejected suggestions that Wesley Sneijder has been “victimized” in his pay dispute with the Italian football club.

The Dutch midfielder, who earns a reported $290,000 a week, has been asked to extend his contract by an extra year to 2016 for the same total salary as cash-trapped Inter seek to cut costs.

Last weekend the club said the 28-year-old would not be selected until he agreed to the new conditions, a move which has angered the international players’ union FIFPro.

“Clubs say that players must respect contracts, but why should that not apply in reverse?” FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen said last week.

“It is not as if Sneijder has taken a gun to the head of the board of Inter to force them to submit that contract. The club offered it to him with their full understanding.”

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However, Stramaccioni insists that he has not picked Sneijder – who was one of Inter’s key players in the 2009-10 treble-winning season under Jose Mourinho – because of footballing reasons.

“It’s my job to pick the best team available, and at the moment I’m not picking him,” Stramaccioni said after Sunday’s 1-0 win at home to Palermo, which kept Inter in third place – four points behind leaders Juventus.

“This has nothing to do with his contract, I have to select the team and Inter come first. It’s not a case of the president telling me not to pick Sneijder, I pick the team. And I think it’s outrageous to suggest Sneijder is being ‘victimized.’

“We should be careful when using terms such as ‘victimized.’ If someone who earns 1,000 euros a month heard us, we’d look a bit silly. It’s my job to decide who’s in the best shape to play and I do so. I make my decisions and I stand by them.”

FIFPro says it will demand action from football’s ruling bodies against clubs which seek to “blackmail” players into accepting reduced terms.

“This type of practice used to be an exception. Unfortunately, we now see clubs in all countries in Europe using this type of measure. For us, the time has come to sound the bell,” Van Seggelen said.

He cited another prominent example in Spain striker Fernando Llorente, who has been dropped by Athletic Bilbao after refusing to assign a new deal.

“If you want to offer a player a lower contract, you must only do that at the end of his current contract,” Van Seggelen said.

The Nerazzurri won on Sunday thanks to a 74th-minute own goal by defender Santiago Garcia, whose struggling Palermo team is coached by Gian Piero Gasperini – sacked by Inter last season after only five games in charge.

Napoli stayed second with a 5-1 thrashing of bottom club Pescara, as Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani and Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler scored twice each.

Cavani has now fired 10 league goals this season, putting him second behind AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy.

Fiorentina retained fourth place despite being held 2-2 by Sampdoria, who canceled out two goals by Montenegro defender Stefan Savic before having Shkodran Mustafi sent off at the end.

Lazio joined Fiorentina on 29 points with a 2-1 win at home to Parma, with veteran Germany striker Miroslav Klose netting the second goal for his ninth this season.

In Spain, fourth-placed Real Betis kept pace with the leading clubs after winning 3-2 at Deportivo La Coruna, as striker Ruben netted the opening two goals.

Second-bottom Deportivo leveled with two goals from striker Riki, but Betis snatched victory through on-loan Costa Rica winger Joel Campbell.

Levante stayed seventh after being held 1-1 by Celta Vigo.

In Germany, Werder Bremen moved up to eighth place with a 4-1 win at third-bottom Hoffenheim as Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic scored a hat-trick.

Wolfsburg moved four points above the relegation zone after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at home to ninth-placed Hamburg.