By Nicholas Spiller
One of the best shooters in the world today, Diego Forlan contains all the attributes of the prototypical striker. He scores incredible shots from distance, and he always seems to play his best on the big stage. But most importantly, he does it all in style with his flowing blonde hair! Oh yeah, and he loves to remove his shirt every time he scores a goal.
Forlan was born in 1979 to a footballer’s family. His father, Pablo, was a professional soccer player who featured for the national team. Diego’s maternal grandfather was also a pro soccer player. Both elder Forlans achieved national fame as they played for Uruguayan teams that won the South American tournament. Needless to say, there would have been pressure to excel at sports in this family!!
Forlan found his first professional success in Argentina for the team, Independiente. He was scouted for his amazing gift of goal-scoring and was signed to Manchester United in 2002. He had limited success for prolonged stretches, but he had a knack for scoring in key moments of big games. One example was in December when he scored two goals away at Liverpool to give United a 2-1 victory. Manchester would go on to win the Premier League that year.
Forlan had a difficult time maintaining form so he was dispatched to Villareal in the summer of 2004. He immediately achieved success in Spain. In his first season at the club, he led La Liga in goals scored with 25. His finest moment was when he scored a hat trick against Barcelona in a 3-3 draw. Once again, however, he failed to build on the promises of his early success and was transferred to Atletico Madrid in 2007.
Here, Forlan was paired with Argentinean striker, Sergio Aguero, and the tandem proved to be deadly. Atletico Madrid qualified for the UEFA Champions’ League in Forlan’s first two seasons at the club. In 2008-2009, Forlan scored 32 goals in 33 games, nearly a goal every match. In 2010, Forlan’s heroics were on further display as he scored two vital goals against Liverpool to progress his side to the Europa League Finals. In the final match, Forlan scored twice against Fulham to help his side win the trophy 2-1.
Diego Forlan possesses a few necessary ingredients for success. First, his long range shot is a swerving menace that gives goalkeepers nightmares. Second, he is smart. He has total awareness around the pitch and is rarely dispossessed. His touch and passing is sublimely simple. He rarely attempts the audacious so his team maintains possession. Lastly, he is a natural leader going forward. He orchestrates attacks and always finds a way to get in position for great shots.
Forlan’s skills came to the forefront at the 2010 World Cup. Forlan had gained some respect for his displays in the Europa League, but when he led his country to semifinals Diego Forlan became world famous. Receiving the Golden Ball award for the tournament’s best player, Forlan scored five goals, each more impressive than the last. This highlight reel from the cup displays the greatness that is Forlan:
More international fame arrived in the 2011Copa America when Diego Forlan led his Uruguayan side to victory. Beating out Argentina along the way in a tense shootout, Forlan added an assist and two goals in the 3-0 final victory over Paraguay. He had proudly succeeded his father and grandfather in lifting the Copa America!
That summer, Diego Forlan was transferred to Inter Milan, a powerhouse of Italian soccer. Although he has missed a large portion of the season through injury, we know that when he gets into form and plays his way, he can be the best striker in the world:
Nicholas Spiller is a freelance soccer writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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