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An Ode to Diego Forlan

July 11, 2010

After a disgusting World Cup final reminiscent of an American high school game, I feel we should remember and praise the cup performance of Diego Forlan.  In a tournament where most of the hyped stars failed to show up, it is fitting that Forlan shined brightest.  The silky forward was the heart and soul of arguably the most entertaining team of the tournament.  When most players whined about the ball, Forlan put nearly every shot on target and when he missed he did not miss by much.  Likewise, you’d be hard pressed to remember an instance where he turned the ball over.  He was the one player that could take over a game at any moment.  With Forlan on the pitch, you felt that a magic moment could happen at any time.  Right down to the last whistle of the third place game where his stoppage time free kick rattled the goal post.  As a fan I don’t think I have ever been as confident that something spectacular was about to happen as I was when the Jabulani was at Forlan’s feet.  In a World Cup where the referees threatened to ruin every single game including the final, Forlan was a nice take away for the fans.  While his talent is remarkable, his approach to the game is also refreshing.  Rarely did he hit the ground from a foul and when he did it was never a dive.  And you would seldom caught him whining about a call, despite how awful the calls could be.  For all of this, I thank Diego Forlan.

Although he has been displaying his abilities in the world’s top leagues for a decade, he has never quite gotten the praise he deserves except from the supporters of his clubs.  Outside of true followers of the game (and outside of Uruguay and Spain), few knew him until this tournament, which seems strange for a player as accomplished as Forlan.  He has twice been the top scorer in La Liga and in both seasons his goal totals were tops in Europe.  The only other player to lead La Liga in goals twice in the past 20 years is Ronaldo (the brazilian Ronaldo).  Today he added a World Cup Golden Ball–the award for the most outstanding player in the WC–to his decorated career.  However, he seems to remain an afterthought in the conversation of top players in the game today.  In the magazine FourFourTwo’s most recent list of the top 100 players in the world that came out last October, Forlan was ranked 21 despite scoring 32 goals in 32 starts for Atletico Madrid and winning the Pichichi trophy for most goals in La Liga (he played 1 game as a substitute).  So what does it take for Forlan to crack the top 5?  Or 10?  Or 20?  I’d imagine a World Cup Golden Ball should do the trick.  So I’d like to congratulate Forlan for finally receiving the recognition he deserves.  Regardless, he has a sizzling model girlfriend (Zaira Nara) and he looks like Mr. Belding’s brother from a Saved by the Bell episode, so he’s doing alright.

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From → Soccer, Sports, World Cup

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