From World Cup Golden Ball to the J.League: Diego Forlán's chapter in Japan

From World Cup Golden Ball to the J.League: Diego Forlán's chapter in Japan

Diego Forlán had a long and decorated career that included stints at mega clubs like Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Inter, but the pinnacle of his career undoubtedly came at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Playing for Uruguay, Forlán was spectacular in South Africa. His long-range efforts became the stuff of legends as he scored from distance throughout the tournament with the unpredictable Jabulani ball. He notched twice in the group stage to take Uruguay into the knockout phases before adding goals in the quarter-finals, semi-finals and third-place match to finish as the joint leading scorer for the tournament.

When it was all said and done, Forlán’s fabulous play earned him the Golden Ball and led Uruguay to their best World Cup performance since 1970.

Four years after his World Cup heroics, Forlán's journey would take him to Japan, where he signed with Cerezo Osaka of the J.League.

It was an eventful spell, full of ups and downs, which included a relegation from J1 but also some memorable goals, including a brace in the Osaka Derby and the finish that put Cerezo into the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League.

The Uruguayan was unstoppable in the second tier in 2015, scoring 10 goals and adding three assists in 16 matches for Cerezo before departing in the summer.

While it may have been a mixed bag for Forlán in Japan, the stories of one of the greatest strikers in modern World Cup history suiting up for Cerezo is a special one to reflect back as it fades into memory.