At 37, Diego Forlán will join his ninth club. The Uruguayan has signed with Indian side Mumbai City. In this special, Forlán´s illustrious career will be highlighted by pictures of his greatest career events.
After playing for both Peñarol´s and Danubio´s youth academy, Diego Forlán moved to Argentina in 1994 (aged 15) to play for Independiente. In 1998, Forlán made his first team debut. Diego scored 40 goals in 91 appearences in his time at the Argentinian club.
Forlán´s great potential didn´t go unnoticed as the Uruguayan was signed by Manchester United for 9 million dollars in January of 2002.
Unfortunately, Forlán couldn’t make it work at Old Trafford as he netted just seventeen goals in his 2-and-a-half-year spell at the club. He did make himself a Manchester United legend, though, when he scored both goals in a 2-1 win over eternal rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
In March of 2002, Diego Forlán made his debut for Uruguay. Cachavacha was also included in Uruguay´s 2002 World Cup squad. A tournament wherein Forlán scored once in one appearance.
To prove his worth in Europe, Forlán left United in the summer of 2004 to play for Spanish side Villarreal. The Uruguayan became an instrumental part in a great Villarreal side, that finished third in the 2004/2005 La Liga and reached the Champions League semi-final in 2006.
Forlán immediately showed his class in his first season at the club, scoring 25 goals in the La Liga. These statistics even made him topscorer of Spain and also won him the European Golden Shoe (shared with Thierry Henry). His next two seasons weren´t as good, but Diego still retained a decent return.
After three magnificent years at Villarreal, Diego was signed by Atlético Madrid for 21 million euros in the summer of 2007. It turned out to be a match made in heaven.
Diego needed no time to settle in at the Vicente Calderón as he scored 58 goals in his first two seasons at the club. He even managed to pick up the Golden Boot as well as the Pichichi award in 2008/2009.
In his third season at Atléti, Forlán’s goalscoring drift in the La Liga eased off. However, in Europe the Uruguayan showed no signs of easing off as he scored some big goals.
With two goals vs. Liverpool (semi-finals) and two vs. Fulham (final), Forlán was the key man in Atlético Madrid’s 2009/2010 Europa League winning campaign.
Forlán picked up the form he exploited all season for Atlético Madrid as he guided Uruguay to the semi-finals in the World Cup of South Africa.
Five goals in seven games, including some stunning ones, saw Forlán being awarded with the Golden Ball as the Best Player of the Tournament.
After the World Cup of 2010, Forlán’s performance levels dropped. When the Copa América of 2011 was around the corner, there was uncertainty of what to expect from Diego. Uruguay’s No10 showed he could still give one last big performance, though, as he scored two goals in Uruguay’s 3-0 win in the Copa América final vs. Paraguay
At 31 years of age, Forlán was on the peak of his powers. However, after his glorious year with Uruguay his age ‘came knocking’. He couldn’t reach the levels of his prime days anymore. Neither for Atléti in 2010/2011 as for Inter Milan in 2011/2012. Diego knew it was time to leave the European fields.
The summer of 2012 saw Diego Forlán come back to South American football, ten years after his departure from Independiente. Brazilian side Internacional signed him up and found out that Forlán still had undeniable qualities. In fact, Forlán was Internacional’s topscorer in the Campeonato Gaúcho of 2013.
After a good spell in Brazil, Diego Forlán – aged 35 – went on to make his most inventive move yet as he signed an 18-month-deal with Japanase team Cerezo Osaka. Despite the adorance he got from the fans, his time in Japan wasn’t great.
At the 11th of March 2015, Diego Forlán announced his retirement from the Uruguayan national team. He scored 36 goals in 112 games and goes down in history as one of Uruguay’s best players.
After a long succesful career abroad, Forlán returned to his home nation by joining his boyhood club Peñarol in the summer of 2015.
Forlán had the dream of winning the league title with Peñarol. It was fulfilled. After accomplishing his goal, Forlán decided to leave the club.
Now, at 37 years of age, Diego has decided to add another chapter to his long and fascinating career.
By David Kraakman.