Forlan: Relished my time in Mumbai and would have loved to come back

Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2016 was a special one for Mumbai City FC as the club qualified for the semi-finals for the first time in their history, after finishing the league stage at the top of the table. Central to their achievement was the contribution of former Uruguay and Manchester United great Diego Forlan, who contributed with five goals, including a hat-trick, to the Islanders' cause that term.

As circumstances would have it, the season turned out to be the 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Ball winner's solitary season in India, but the Uruguayan revealed recently that he would have loved to have another go. "I wanted to come back here. I did not have the opportunity of coming back to Mumbai, which I wanted to," said Forlan, who was in India as a part of an event.

"I had an amazing time in Mumbai. My wife, my family was here. In fact, it was over here that my wife told me we were expecting our second child. So, I have good memories. I made some amazing friends who I still keep in touch with," he added, reiterating his nostalgia connected to his time at Mumbai.

The 40-year-old, who announced his retirement from professional football a few months back, is now pursuing a career as a football coach. "I want to attain my UEFA coaching badges in order to coach in Europe. I’m planning on doing that next year," he informed.

Asked if the Hero ISL could be one of his destinations in his new venture, the Uruguayan responded, "I had a good time here when I played. So, why not? It would be really nice."

Taking a step back, the Mumbai City man also remembered some of his old teammates from Mumbai, including India national team's talisman Sunil Chhetri, and heaped praise on them, saying some of them had the quality to play in Europe. "Chhetri is a great player. We had good players in our team. There was Pronay Halder and Sehnaj Singh. They could play in European leagues, they had the talent. Sunil played abroad but I think he returned too early. Maybe if he stayed there, he would’ve been successful."

Reminiscing about his time in India and commenting on the possible roadmap the country can take to further its development in football, Forlan opined, "You have some places in India where people are crazy about football like Kerala, Kolkata, Goa and the NorthEast. Maybe you should take advantage of that. So, if you are starting work at the grassroots level, you should focus on these places, start building from there."

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