'Beautiful stage ends'
Uruguay's Golden Ball-winning football great Diego Forlan calls time on glittering 21-year career; says hanging his boots wasn't an easy decision
Montevideo: Uruguay great Diego Forlan, who played for Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, has retired from the professional game. Forlan, 40, who also played for the likes of Inter and Villarreal, along with a memorable run with Atletico Madrid during a fine career in Europe, confirmed his retirement on Tuesday.
Taking to Twitter to reveal his decision, Forlan wrote: "After 21 years I made the decision to end my career as a professional footballer. A beautiful stage closes full of great memories and emotions but another of new challenges will begin. Thanks to all who in one way or another accompanied me on this path!" Forlan spoke about his decision on the US TV channel, TeleMundo. "What I lived in these 21 years...I have no words. I never imagined. It is much, much, much more than what I dreamed as a child," he said.
"It would have been nice to close my career in Penarol, but it did not happen, the negotiations did not come to fruition. I would have loved it." He continued: "It hasn't been easy, I didn't want the time to come, but I knew it was going to come. I have decided to stop playing football professionally," he added.
Suarez thanks Forlan
Meanwhile, Uruguay striker Luis Suarez praised Forlan for helping him develop with the national team. "I will never forget how you treated me from the beginning, I am grateful for the moments shared with you. Love you very much," Suarez tweeted. 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 won the Golden Ball award for the best player at the 2010 World Cup — where Uruguay reached the semi-finals. He also played for the Indian Super League club Mumbai City FC and most recently Kitchee in Hong Kong.
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