Uruguay great and former Mumbai City skipper Diego Forlan retires

Diego Forlan has announced his retirement from professional football. The 40-year-old enjoyed a spellbinding 22-year career in the game, where he scored tons of goals and provided unforgettable memories both at the club and international level.

The Uruguayan began his career with Independiente in 1997, and very quickly moved up the ranks with a goal every second match. In January 2002, Forlan first moved abroad as he signed for Premier League giants, Manchester United. In his three year stay in England, the forward made 107 appearances and scored 17 goals. He also won the Premier League and the FA Cup during that period.

Subsequently, Forlan moved to Spanish top-division club, Villarreal in 2004. After a decent couple of seasons for the team where he scored 58 goals in 122 matches, the Uruguayan joined Atlético Madrid in what turned out to be the best spell of his career. He scored 96 times for the Los Rojiblancos in just over 200 fixtures, winning the Pichichi Trophy in 2008-09 and Europa League title the next season.

Forlan then had brief spells at Inter Milan, Internacional, Cerezo Osaka and Penarol, following which he moved to Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) club, Mumbai City FC in 2016. The news was greeted with a lot of excitement and expectations from all parts of the country.

He made his debut in the Maharashtra Derby on 3rd October 2016. Captaining the unit, Forlan played almost the entire match and assisted the goal which won the Islanders all three points. In the next fixture against NorthEast United, he opened his account in the league as he converted a penalty won by Blue Tigers midfielder, Pronay Halder.

The forward missed the next three fixtures due to injury, returning only in late October against FC Goa. His next goal came in an away win over ATK in the following fixture.

Forlan’s first and only hattrick in the Hero ISL came in the 5-0 hammering of Kerala Blasters in mid-November. The nature of the goals was even more spectacular as the Uruguayan displayed his exemplary all-round game.

He played his last match in the league against the Delhi Dynamos in early December. In total, Forlan scored five goals and assisted a further three during in the 12 matches he played for the Islanders. The forward also attempted 32 shots and 58 crosses, while having a passing accuracy of just over 60%.

Internationally, Forlan scored 36 goals in 112 appearances for his nation. He helped them clinch the Copa America in 2011 and won the Golden Ball at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The 40-year-old last represented Hong Kong Premier League club, Kitchee SC before calling it quits. He played 14 matches for the club and scored six goals.

Here’s a glimpse of the Uruguay great registering his only Hero ISL hat-trick:

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