When we think about the world’s best strikers, the names of Falcao, Messi, Ronaldo and Rooney often come to mind. But one player who is often forgotten is Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan. Forlan, now 33, has spent the better part of the last ten years trying to prove to many in the UK that he is not a flop but instead a world-class striker. His spell in Spain with Villarreal and then Atlético Madrid add weight to the argument as it proved to be one of the more fruitful spells of his career. In the seven years he spent there, after his disastrous spell in England with Manchester United, Forlan hit an amazing 155 goals in 240 appearances. Added into this, he managed to a further 22 goals at international level, cementing his place in the Uruguayan starting eleven over that same period. His star performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup further added to his argument where he not only finished as top goalscorer but also managed to secure a spot in the team of the tournament. Despite this, Forlan’s spell at Old Trafford still haunts him, and at 33 years old, he feels that perhaps his chance has passed to show the Premiership what a quality striker he actually is.
After a brief spell at Inter Milan, where he played second fiddle to another sensational striker Diego Milito, Forlan found himself moving to Brazil to play for Sport Club Internacional. He has found success once again in South America and in his time there has been in good form going into this season, where he has managed six goals in as many matches including a brace in his last game against Esportivo. Forlan is playing with a freedom that he hasn’t seen since his days in Spain and is finding the pace and space of the Brazilian game extremely welcoming. For defenders, these are the two things that you want to give Forlan the least as he has the ability to punish you from all over the park. Similar in style to Colombian hitman Radamel Falcao, Forlan possess the vision and skill to make something out of nothing, with his first goal against Esportivo a great example of this.
Picking up the ball from Fred some 35 yards out, Forlan quickly assessed the options. With Leandro Damião and Josimar both being tightly man marked and only Andrés D’Alessandro available to pass to five yards away, Forlan decided to go for another option. Noticing Esportivo goalkeeper Fabiano Borges standing fairly central in his goal but about 5 yards off his line, Forlan lined up a stinging shot with his left foot. Hitting it with the outside of his left foot for maximum swerve, the ball rocketed into the top left hand corner of the net passed a helpless Borges. It was a typical Forlan finish which demonstrated his class in abundance. He later added a second goal with a magnificent piece of play at the edge of the area where he twisted and turned before drilling a low shot past Borges to secure the win.
It is obvious that Forlan is enjoying his football at the moment, under the watchful eye of Internacional’s head coach, former Brazil star Dunga. His partnership with Leandro Damião has proved fruitful and combined they are one of the deadliest strike teams in the league. Forlan knows it’s a mile away from his nightmare spell at United, where to be fair he struggled to settle into the faster pace of the game, but as he starts to wind down his career, he can confidently look back and say that he was one of the world’s greatest strikers.
For highlights of the game and to see both goals, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfY83kxNKLA