Diego Forlan – The Underrated Maestro

Uruguay-Diego-Forlan-cropped

Whilst taking in one of many World Cup group fixtures, it was a pleasure as a football purist to see a master class from a player who almost became a regular for my local club, Middlesbrough.

Diego Forlan (pictured above, celebrating his 2nd goal versus South Africa) was the man in question, who put in  a performance many will struggle to match between now and the end of the tournament.

So good was his performance, Mark Lawrenson uttered the greatest of one liners, “Forlan’s running this game – he could play in his slippers!” Simply superb and it truly summed up his magical game-controlling performance.

Yes, it was only against so-called lesser opposition in South Africa but it was yet another stunning display by the Uruguayan maestro, the talisman of a team packed with potential. With Forlan as the helm this team may begin to deliver and there is no time like the present.

Yet many football fans sadly seem to judge a player or a manager (Roy Hodgson’s spell at Blackburn Rovers’) by how they perform in the English Premier League. Pathetic but true.

They should remember, one spell with one club does not make for a poor player, an overrated player etc, it purely makes for a good or great player who simply didn’t perform to his full potential whilst playing in England.

Back in January 2002, Middlesbrough were on the verge on signing Forlan (pictured above) from his Argentine football club, Intependiente, when Sir Alex of Ferguson, nipped in front of ‘The Boro’ and took him to Old Trafford.

Forlan, as many are aware struggled with the Red Devils, and some may argue he was mis-managed, but 10 goals in over 60 appearances for the club, is nothing spectacular I’m sure you’ll agree, but the press and sections of United fans and other teams fans, were at Forlan and a move was desperately needed.

He moved to Spain and excelled, playing to his full potential in the six years he has spent in La Liga, with two 3 year spells, initially at Villerreal and secondly with his current club, Atletico Madrid, scoring over 100 goals in the process, with a goals per game average to envy the best (1 goal every 2 games).

Forlan ended last season with some sensational displays, notably against English sides, Liverpool and Fulham (two goals against each), en route to helping Atletico win the inaugural Europa League, whilst collecting several man of the match accolades to boot.

This goes to show that his time in England didn’t mean Diego was a poor player, he simply struggled for several aforementioned reasons, but it seems fans, press and commentators alike, seem hell-bent on dragging his past along with his current rich vain of form.

Forlan, 31, has two or three years left at the top of the game and I would dearly love to see his return to the English game, but frankly I wouldn’t blame him for staying away and enjoying his career elsewhere.

Just think Diego, had you moved to Middlesbrough, you could have helped with our challenge to return to the Premier League next season. An opportunity missed I’m sure you’ll agree?

I sincerely hope you dazzle in the remainder of the World Cup and keep proving the narrow-minded so-called football fans wrong in the coming years.

Surely a great in the modern game, but would he be classed as among the best? Possibly!

According to football magazine, FourFourTwo, he was a respectable 21st at the last count…

Cheers for reading.

Gaffers

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