Ex-Man Utd and Atletico legend signs for Japanese side Cerezo Osaka

Diego Forlan

Uruguayan striker Diego Forlan has signed a 10-month deal with J-League side Cerezo Osaka, Shinji Kagawa's former club.

Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan used Twitter announcement the deal

The 34-year-old followed the in the footsteps of his father into professional football following the horrific car accident suffered by his sister. Determined to make a decent living and provide for his family, Forlan moved to Argentina where he played for Independiente

A decent spell at the Argentine club saw Forlan net 36 goals in 77 appearances. His impressive performances were noted by Premier League side Middlesbrough who in January 2002 offered £6.9m over 18 instalments to bring the striker to England. However, on the eve of the transfer, the bid was stumped by Manchester United who offered one lump sum of £6.9m and Forlan decided to move to Old Trafford instead, quoting:

"Manchester United is a big club, so I've decided to go there. The thing is, they offered more money than Middlesbrough."

Forlan initially struggled to adapt at Old Trafford, failing to find the net for the first nine months of his United career. Yet, as soon as he got his first, more goals followed and he ended up a Premier League champion in 2003. Despite clear improvements made throughout his time at Old Trafford, his United career ended in the summer of 2004 as he moved to La Liga side Villarreal.

It was during the Uruguayan’s time at Villarreal when Diego Forlan became an international star. In his first season, he won La Liga’s Pichichi Trophy for finishing as the top goal scorer – netting 25 goals as he helped the Yellow Submarines qualify for the Champions League.

Further success followed and in 2007, Forlan got a huge move as Atletico Madrid signed the striker for a reported fee of €21m – a replacement for the then Liverpool-bound Fernando Torres.

Diego Forlan spent four years at Atletico Madrid, winning the Europa League and European Super Cup as he formed a lethal partnership with current Manchester City favourite Sergio Aguero. In 134 appearances for the Rojiblancos, Forlan netted 74 times, an average of one goal per every 144 minutes.

Nonetheless, his Atletico Madrid reign came to an end in the summer of 2011 as the prolific striker was on the decline. An unsuccessful season at Inter Milan signalled the end of Forlan’s European adventure, where he returned to South America in 2012, joining Brazilain side Internacional on a three-year deal.

Following the surprise termination of his contract with Internacional, Diego Forlan was a free agent and had offers from both Mexico and The USA. However, the Uruguayan has opted for a 10-month stint in Japan with Cerezo Osaka, signing a deal until December 2014.

It will be a good adventure for the ex-Manchester United player and he will be looking to extend his impressive career goal record as he hopes to lead Uruguay to another successful World Cup in Brazil this summer.

image: © IvanG

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