Former Manchester United man Diego Forlan slams Cerezo Osaka

Old Trafford

The Uruguayan, who became known for scoring against Liverpool during a disappointing spell at Old Trafford, has just suffered relegation with Cerezo Osaka.

 

Diego Forlan has hit out at his Cerezo Osaka teammates after a disappointing season ended in relegation for the affluent Japanese club.

The 35-year-old arrived in the Far East last January as the side’s marquee signing for the season but in a disappointing campaign managed just seven goals in 26 appearances for Cerezo – a poor return for the striker, who claimed the Golden Ball award for the best player at the 2010 World Cup.

A lack of goals eventually saw Forlan play a bit part role for the remainder of the campaign, with the Osaka side paying a hefty price, following their newly-confirmed relegation to the Japanese second division.

And speaking in an interview with El Observador TV, the former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid forward wasted no time in passing the blame onto the rest of the Cerezo squad.

“[Japanese players] don’t understand the significance of relegation because fans don’t pressure them,” he explained in an interview conducted over Skype.

“There’s no pressure for them to win or lose...It was strange to know that we had been relegated and see [my teammates] laughing during training the next day.”

With a start since way back in August, the former Uruguay international hit out at Yuji Okuma in the interview – the youth coach brought in to replace manager Marco Pezzaiuoli, following a dismal start to the season.

“I was frustrated because Okuma didn’t allow me to help in the last three months,” he explained

“He always had an excuse to keep me from playing, saying that he wanted to defend more than attack. He clearly didn’t bench me for poor form, because then he’d have to bench the entire team.”

The interview saw Forlan paint a depressingly bleak picture of life in Japan, with the striker explaining that he was ignored by many of his teammates during his stay at the club, with the situation only improving when former Stuttgart striker Cacau, originally from Brazil, arrived.

He also wasted no time in criticising the style of play adopted in the region and now looks unlikely to continue playing in Asia.

“[Japan] take football as a science when it’s not,” he said. “They do things without an objective."

Signed from Independiente for £6.9 million by Sir Alex Ferguson back in January 2002, Forlan managed just 17 goals in 98 appearances for the Red Devils, though he did managed to net memorable strikes against the likes of Liverpool and Rangers during his time at the club.

A subsequent move to Villarreal saw the forward enjoy an upturn in fortunes, with Forlan earning the Pichichi award as top scorer in La Liga twice during his time in Spain – first with the Yellow Submarine and later with Atletico Madrid.

He also enjoyed short spells at Inter Milan and Internacional and was instrumental in helping Uruguay reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2010.

Forlan will now look to rekindle his career elsewhere.

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