Diego Forlán has officially announced his retirement from football. The 40 year-old striker had played last for Kitchee in Hong Kong, but had been without a club for awhile. Forlán will of course always be a Villarreal legend—he remains the only member of the Yellow Submarine to lead La Liga in scoring (25 goals in the 2004-05 season). With Villarreal, he played from 2004 to 2007 and had 54 goals in the league for us.
Although his father was a footballer, Diego’s first love was tennis, but he became a professional footballer when his sister was paralyzed in an auto accident. Forlán had a tryout in France with AS Nancy at age 16, but wasn’t signed; however by 2002, he had gained the interest of English clubs—Manchester United nipped in ahead of Middlesborough to sign him from Independente of Argentina for €11m.
His time wasn’t the happiest there, though he is still considered a club legend for scoring twice against Liverpool—and for his quote that he “never knew there was another club in Manchester” (!). He was sold to Villarreal for €3.2m in August 2004, and immediately prospered. Villarreal sold him to Atletico Madrid for €21m three years later, and he played there for four seasons—and scored the goal that gave them their first Europa League win.
Forlan was at the height of his club career in Spain from 2004-10, and his peak performances on the international stage were the 2010 World Cup, where he won the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament, and was part of an exciting Uruguay side which finished fourth. Uruguay and Forlán followed that up with a victory in the 2011 Copa America. He retired from the national side in 2015.
His transfer from Atleti to Inter Milan was less successful, and in his thirties, Forlan made stops in Brazil, Japan, India and Hong Kong, with a season back home in Uruguay with Peñarol thrown in as well. Diego and his wife Paz Cardoso (whom he married in 2013) have three children, and we hope he and his family enjoy a happy retirement! A Villarreal legend, indeed.