Diego Forlan explains Japan's success mantra

Indian Super League side Mumbai City FC's marquee signing Diego Forlan opens up on his long career and his stint in Japan's J-League.

Diego forlan mumbai city marquee ISL

“The Japanese try to do things as perfectly as possible. It is difficult for others to follow their way," said Forlan, about Japan's dominance in Asia.   -  Vivek Bendre

Diego Forlan, who used to be a one-man demolition squad for his national tean Uruguay, places team wins over awards won for spectacular goals off his boots. The winner of European Golden Shoe twice (2004-2005/2008-2009) and FIFA Golden Ball once (2010 World Cup), said he values victories like the 2011 Copa America trophy over personal milestones.

“I feel happy when the goals I scored helps the national team to qualify or win tournaments. Titles won as a team gives me more joy,” said the 37-year-old.

Mumbai City FC’s marquee player scored six times in 10 appearances at three FIFA World Cups (2002, 2010, 2014), besides 15 goals in 47 World Cup qualifying games for Uruguay. Forlan’s club highs include Man of Match award for two strikes in the 2010 UEFA Europa Cup final for Athletico Madrid against Fulham.

The Indian Super League is the Uruguayan’s second stint in Asia, after a successful J-League debut with Japan’s Cerezo Osaka in 2014-2015 season.

Forlan moved to Japan from Brazilian club Internacional on an 18-month contract and guided his club into the AFC Champions League knockouts in the process. Cerezo Osaka signed him after the striker’s third World Cup appearance in 2014.

Replying to a question about Japan’s success among Asian nations in gaining World Cup qualification, he explained: “The Japanese try to do things as perfectly as possible. It is difficult for others to follow their way, not many countries in Asia have managed.”

Five back-to-back appearances in FIFA World Cup by Japan, since debut in 1998, is a remarkable achievement by the nation. Forlan points out that Japan sends its talented youngsters to major football nations. “Uruguay has seen many young Japanese, who come in groups to play, watch Uruguayan teams in training and learn.”

He added: “Japanese believe in taking something from everyone. Uruguay, Brazil, Argentine, you will find young Japanese in most of the leading football nations. The J-League clubs also invite foreign players. The rise in club standards helped Japan put up a better show internationally.”

Uruguay and Japan qualified for the knockout from different groups in 2010 World Cup. Forlan inspired his nation to wins over South Korea, Ghana before losing the semifinals to the Netherlands.

Forlan’s volleyed goal against Germany in the 2010 WC third-place match was named by FIFA later as the ‘Goal of the Tournament’. He moved from Villareal FC in the Spanish league to higher-rated Atletico Madrid, followed by a move to Serie A with Inter Milan. He then went on to ply his trade with Internacinal in Brazil before the J-League. He moved from Japan back to Uruguary with Penarol FC till last season when the Indian Super League clubs got him on the radar.

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