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'You will always be a legend in Uruguay': Diego Forlan retires from football

Former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid striker ends his career after a spell in Hong Kong.

Forlan won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002/03.
Forlan won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002/03.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

FORMER URUGUAY AND Manchester United forward Diego Forlan has announced his retirement from professional football.

Forlan, 40, last played for Kitchee in Hong Kong, with his final appearance coming in May last year.

The forward, who played for Inter Milan and Villarreal as well as a memorable run with Spanish side Atletico Madrid during a fine career in Europe, confirmed his retirement on Tuesday.

“It hasn’t been easy, I didn’t want the time to come, but I knew it was going to come,” Forlan told Telemundo .

“I have decided to stop playing football professionally.”

Forlan started his professional career with Independiente in Argentina before earning a move to Manchester United in January 2002.

He won the Premier League with Manchester United in 2002/03 and the FA Cup the following season before joining Villarreal in 2004.

Forlan enjoyed a prolific spell in La Liga, scoring 128 goals in 240 league games for Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, while also helping the latter clinch the Europa League in 2009/10.

His best season in Europe came with Atletico during the 2008/09 campaign when he scored 32 league goals in 33 appearances for the club, beating Samuel Eto’o and David Villa to lead the league in scoring.

After a brief spell at Inter, he played for Internacional, Cerezo Osaka, Penarol, Mumbai City and Kitchee before calling time on his career.

Forlan will also be remembered as one of Uruguay’s greatest players, having scored 36 goals in 112 appearances for his nation, who won the Copa America in 2011, while he claimed the Golden Ball at the 2010 World Cup as his country finished fourth.

Luis Suarez, Forlan’s former international team-mate, paid tribute to the forward.

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“Historic for Uruguayan football. Grateful for all the unforgettable moments you made all Uruguayans live, both in the national team and in all the teams you played,” the Barcelona star wrote on Twitter.

“I will always be grateful for what you taught me, both on and off the field, a dream to have played with one of my idols. You will always be a legend in Uruguay. A lot of success in your new challenges, friend.”

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