Remember that blonde bombshell that used to strut around the Old Trafford catwalk. That lad who suffered such a goal drought, he was sent on loan to the FC Gobi Desert to quench his thirst. The one who, on the rare occasion that he did score, took off his shirt in jubilation and then farcically struggled and strained to get it back on; eventually playing-on topless clutching his shirt in his hand.
Yup, though a likeable figure, it’s fair to say Diego Forlan’s spell at Man United wasn’t the most productive. But, as he gears up for Uruguay’s World Cup campaign, he has firmly moved on and established himself as a forward to be feared.
As you will know, since leaving Old Trafford Forlan has been colossal. But let’s stew in the mire for slightly longer. The son of former Uruguayan international Pablo Forlán, Diego joined Man United from Independiente for just under £7million in 2002. He did actually score some significant goals – such as a late winner against Chelsea and a brace away at Liverpool during the title winning season of 2002/02 – but a record of 10 goals in 63 league games largely speaks for itself. Whether he couldn’t properly adapt to the pace, faced too much competition up-front, was not adequately facilitated or was just s**t, I don’t know, but did not live up to expectations.
In 2004 he joined Villarreal and soon revived his reputation; securing the Pichichi Trophy in his first season with 25 goals – guiding Villarreal to a UEFA Champions League spot – and sharing the European Golden Boot award with Thierry Henry. His fruitful stay ended in 2007 when he signed for Atlético Madrid. With big Torres-shaped shoes to fill, he settled snugly. His first season wasn’t his most prolific, though he still managed 16 league goals, but his second Madrid campaign was spectacular. He again picked up both the Pichichi Trophy and European Golden Boot, with a league total of 32 goals in 33 games, and formed an explosive partnership with Sergio Aguero.
At 31-years-old, this is likely to be Diego’s last World Cup, hence it’s now time to improve on his tally of one World Cup goal; scored against Senegal in 2002. (He has, however, scored a total of 24 international goals). In form again, illustrating flexibility and capability in scoring a variety on goals, causing problems from inside and outside the box, and set to lead the Uruguay line, it will be interesting to see how he copes.
Certainly there will be a lot of pressure on his shoulders; taking responsibility as the figurehead of the side. However, he does also have Luis Suarez for company in what should be a potent strike force; both are in form and Forlan insists they ‘get on very well away from football, and that is reflected on the pitch’. Forlan is also clearly confident about Uruguay’s chances generally, suggesting ‘there is nothing to improve’ and that they are very much ready. So now its time to just to keep an eye on the former Man United man; hopefully it’ll be the La Liga version.
Having watched the largely enjoyable South Africa against Mexico match earlier, you would think Uruguay’s leading light could certainly bag a couple of goals during the group stage, and should cause France some problems tonight; but, since I’m writing this before the France vs. Uruguay kick-off and it may not actually be published until after the game, I’m sure he’ll make me look a right tit, miss a sitter, fluff it horribly wide, look directly into the television camera and mouth ‘You Tit’ directly at me, ‘you stupid, stupid tit’).
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