Why did Diego Forlan not work out?

Diego Forlan

Diego Forlan will always be remembered by United fans for his double against Liverpool after Dudek had comically blundered a pass back from Jamie Carragher – however his £7Million move from Independiente to Old Trafford didn’t quite work out the way Fergie had hoped it would.  That period of Ferguson’s Old Trafford career was probably the most eyebrow raising in terms of talent that he brought to the club – with Bellion, Kleberson and a skinny little kid called ‘Ronaldo’.  Diego Forlan should have been a hit but sadly wasn’t…

Forlan played 98 times for United scoring a measly 17 goals.  That works out at (quite obviously) at a strike rate of 0.17 goals per game.  When you compare that stat to the likes of Gary Birtles (0.18) and Alan Brazil (0.29) – you realise how much of a failure the Uruguay International was.  The fact that the lad had to wait eight months for his first goal from the penalty spot against Maccabi Haifa – combined with a Roy Keane rant, indicating he wanted someone else to take it – should have been more than enough proof that the Premier League wasn’t for him.

However, he always seemed a likable character, always eager to work hard and prove doubters wrong – regardless of how ineffective he was in football matches.  Other than the two goals against Liverpool and the wonder strike against Rangers in the 3-0 victory – many United fans weren’t too bothered to see the back of him in 2004 – a mere two years after his big money move to  Europe.

Fast forward five years – Diego Forlan has proved that he is a top striker and can mix it with the best of them in Spain.  To date – he has scored 90 goals in 166 matches for Villerreal and Atletico Madrid giving him a strike rate of 0.54 – much better if you compare it to Andy Cole’s 0.44, Eric Cantona’s 0.44 and Ruud VanNistelrooy’s 0.68 (Wow!) goals per game ratio.

Of course you need to adapt to the culture of your new home and fit in with your surroundings rather than just rely on your ability – however I could never see Forlan becoming a success at the top level – simply because I didn’t think he was good enough.  He proved me and many other fans wrong with his sublime strike rate in one of Europe’s top leagues.

11 Comments on Why did Diego Forlan not work out?

  1. pdm – i’ve worked out it was in his 20th game that he scored his first goal meaning that his ratio would be 17/78 – giving him a 0.22 goals per game ratio. So nearly a one in four and to be fair to him he was used mainly as a substitute.

  2. Thanks for this article mate, I was waiting for an article about Diego Forlan with some stats… I agree with you Forlan isn’t a big club player..i think If Barca would take him last summer his scenario with Man utd would repeated there again.

  3. He scored a few very vital goals in the 02/03 campaign. Of course 2 against Liverpool at Anfield(which is enough to make him a legend), winner against Chelsea on the 90th minute at OT and a winner against Southampton (when he failed to put his shirt back on). So despite his poor goal ratio he was a very important factor in winning the Premiership 02/03.

  4. I agree mate. It was difficult to settle after his move from Argentinian club Independiente. The style of football was very different from that of his homeland so it was always going to be hard. It was right to sell him.

  5. he has proven that he is one of the best around today and im sure If any team in England gives him a chance he’ll do wat he does best SCORE GOALS!!! I hope it will be manchester unite again……………….

  6. Your article about Diego Forlan is unfair he was only a substitute without regularity in the first team.He needs just like any other player regularity to have consistency.How many times of the 98 games was substitute ?

  7. Come back to me when you get his minutes/goals ratio compared to Van Nistelrooy or any other united striker. His goal ratio was superb considering the amount of minutes he played!! He was always a sub! Apart from excelling in the Spanish and the Argentinian league, he also excelled in the South American qualifiers battling for the top scorer charts. Get me those numbers and then we can talk. Who ever says he didn’t excel because he’s not a big club player, you have zero knowledge about football.

  8. Allan – thanks for your comments. I never said he wasn’t a big game player but from watching him close up from 2002 to 2004 he really didn’t cut the mustard at United and I think his stats reflect that. He has since gone on to show what a wonderful forward he is and i’m really pleased for him.

    I agree he has excelled in the Spanish league and was prolific for Independiente – but considering this is a United blog – we do tend to focus on his performances for United – which weren’t anywhere near what he is capable of.

    Thanks for your input.

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