At 35 and with 112 caps Diego Forlan is already one of Uruguay’s most famous footballing sons. Four years ago he was voted best player of the 2010 tournament helping them reach the semifinals finishing joint top scoring with five goals.
That fourth-placed finish looked like being his big send off from the international stage but on Saturday against Colombia he steps back out on to the pitch in his country’s hour of need as Luis Suarez begins his suspension — Forlan the saviour again.
He no longer possesses the speed and agility of old but his delivery remains exceptional and because he is happy playing deeper he will give Uruguay an extra body in midfield and release Edinson Cavani further forward — the Paris Saint-Germain player sacrificed his attacking instincts in the games against Italy and England to dovetail with Suarez.
Forlan still brings enormous quality to the team and is still hugely respected — most players would prefer a grandiose retirement announcement and maybe a benefit game in Montevideo’s Centenario Stadium. Instead he made himself available for this tournament and played the first game as Suarez recovered from his meniscus operation one month ago.
“It’s a competitive league so I am well prepared for this tournament,” he said ahead of Uruguay’s pre-tournament friendly double-header against Northern Ireland and Slovenia.
He played in both those games as Suarez recovered from injury and played in the first group game against Costa Rica. He is not what he was, but he is the best they have and every Uruguayan knows he will not let them down.