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Fantastic Forlan

For any striker, winning the European Golden Shoe is an achievement in itself. Win it twice, and your name will be forever immersed in footballing history.

Diego Forlan (pictured) has obtained numerous awards for personal attacking achievements in his 17 year long career.

His hardworking contribution, plus five important goals for his native Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup saw him achieve the Golden Ball award - best player of the tournament.

Born into a family of footballers, his father played for Sao Paulo in the 70’s, and his maternal grandfather plied his trade for Independiente in Argentina. You could say that football is in the blood for the Forlan family.

Making his name in Spain

Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Diego spent four years at Independiente rising through their youth system, only for a certain Manchester United to pluck him out of the vast South American landscape.

Despite winning the Premier League and FA Cup, the decline in the forwards’ form resulted in United selling Forlan to La Liga side Villarreal in the summer of 2004.

Spain was to be the destination where Diego made his name. The impressive haul of 25 league goals in his debut season saw Forlan win the notorious Pichichi accolade.

Forlan indeed carried through his impressive debut season form to the next term with the Yellow Submarine.

Career on an upward curve

His goal rate began to decline, whilst Villarreal made several changes to their squad during the 2005-06 season.

19 goals in 36 games during his last season for the El Madrigal-based club was enough evidence for Atletico Madrid to make a player-plus-cash offer for a striker they believed would be suitable enough to replace Fernando Torres who had recently departed the Spanish capital for Liverpool.

The first season at Vicente Calderon saw Forlan reach 23 goals, forming a potent attacking partnership with Argentinian international Sergio Aguero.

After a hat-trick against Athletic Bilbao, the South American won both the La Liga Pichichi award and the European Golden Boot for the second time in his ever-sparkling career.

Diego earned himself a goal per-game, 32 goals in 33 games to be precise, with the record having been rarely matched in Spain.

Interest from afar

Fulham fans will remember the forward well for his brace against Roy Hodgson's side at the Volksparkstadion in the 2010 Europa League final, where Atletico prevailed by two goals to one. Forlan was awarded Man of the Match.

The beginning of the 2010-11 season saw Forlan and Atletico Madrid obtain another trophy, the UEFA Super Cup, with a 2-0 win against his future club, Inter Milan.

After a slow season, the striker admitted he had been approached by Besiktas, Real Madrid and Seattle Sounders of the MLS.

It was indeed Inter Milan that Forlan opted to join.

Troubles in Italy

No financial details were announced, but it is believed the player signed a two year deal for the Italian giants.

The 32-year-old struggled to create an impact in his new squad, and failed to achieve a regular first team start.

After spending six months at Inter, Forlan could only hold himself a mere two goals to his name.

During an interview with Sky Sports this April, Diego declared his loyalty to his most recent club telling journalists that: ''I want to stay at Inter. You haven't seen the real Forlan yet. I wouldn't want to leave Inter like this. I like challenges and wouldn't want to leave when the team are not in a good position.''

Just two goals in 22 appearances, and a statement of loyalty were not enough, Inter released the player from his contract on 5th July.

National hero

A day later after his contract was terminated, Brazilian side Internacional signed the Uruguayan on a three year deal.

The tiki-taka style of Spain and the Americas is clearly a favourable choice for the player.

The similar kind of passing play under Uruguay's national team has resulted in the striker becoming the nations' leading top scorer of all time with 32 goals to his name.

Forlan is also Uruguay's most capped player with 84 international games under his belt. If statistics are true, Internacional have earned themselves a complete bargain.

By Alex Fitzgerald

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