Manchester United cult hero scores twice in Japan derby draw

Diego Forlan

Diego Forlan was the hero as Cerezo and Gamba Osaka played out a 2-2 draw in the J-League yesterday.

Cult figures only come along ever so often in football. They can be magnificently gifted, famously eccentric or woefully useless - but nonetheless appreciated and loved by their fans.

But rarely is one all three of the above factors.

One player who did fall into every category was Diego Forlan at Manchester United.

Sir Alex Ferguson spent £6.9 million to get his man from Independiente but he took a while to settle in.

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 this he made a habit of scoring important goals against the likes of Southampton, Liverpool and Chelsea.

In the end it simply didn’t work out and he was flogged by United to Spanish outfit Villarreal.

Then things changed and he 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 player at the FIFA World Cup in 2010 - inspiring Uruguay to a semi-final spot.

This summer he left his Brazilian club Internacional and decided upon a sensational move to Japan to play for Cerezo Osaka.

And yesterday marked a special occasion for him.

So far J-League football has not come so easily to the 34-year-old - and he had scored just two goals in his first seven appearances for the club.

But yesterday marked his best performance yet in a Cerezo shirt - and it came in the derby match against Gamba Osaka.

The game finished 2-2 - and Forlan bagged a brace in the tie to prove he has still got it. The first was an exquisite free-kick while the second was arguably even better. He started the move inside his own half before Cerezo played some lovely football and he slotted home.

It is of course great to see Diego doing well - he remains to this day a popular flop at Old Trafford. But let us hope he isn’t in this form come the summer - when he faces off against England at the World Cup.

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