£6.9m Manchester United cult hero on brink of shock Japan switch

Japan Football Fans

Diego Forlan is reportedly on his way to Cerezo Osaka from Internacional Porto Alegre.

Cult figures only come along ever so often in Premier League football. They can be magnificently gifted, famously eccentric or woefully useless - but nonetheless appreciated and loved by their fans, who always talk about them with a smile upon face.

But rarely is one all three or the above factors.

One that might fall into that category was Diego Forlan at Manchester United.

With his blinding blonde locks, erratic finishing and smiling character he was an instant hit when arriving in the UK - after Sir Alex Ferguson splurged £6.9 million to get him ahead of Middlesbrough from Independiente.

But he took a while to settle in - shall we say.

He didn’t score his first goal for the club until his second season - going 27 games before bagging the goal that broke his duck.

But despite his lack of proficiency who will ever forget the important goals he scored against Southampton, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Or him chasing down defenders with his shirt off in the former.

In the end he was flogged by United to Spanish outfit Villarreal.

Then things changed. He got a haircut, took himself more seriously and went on to become La Liga top scorer on his debut season.

He then went on to score goals for fun for Atletico Madrid, winning the Pichichi Trophy again, - and was the star individual player at the FIFA World Cup in 2010 - inspiring Uruguay to a semi-final spot.

He has been playing in Brazil since 2012 - but his contract has recently expired and he has been linked with West Ham and Botafogo.

But according to reports in South America and Asia - he is turning Japanese.

Forlan will reportedly sign a deal in the coming days for J.League side Cerezo Osaka for the start of the 2014 season - kicking off on the 1st March.

Don’t know much about Cerezo Osaka, well they finished fourth last season, but only three points off top spot in a tight season, but will compete in the AFC Champions League this year.

In terms of recognisable players, former Palermo and Roma star and Brazilian international Fabio Simplicio is perhaps their best known name.

For now…

Here is a reminder of perhaps Forlan’s best moment in a United shirt, well out of one that is…

image: © yoppy

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