Osaka - Uruguay's most-capped player Diego Forlan, so often his country's
talisman, announced his retirement from international football on
The 35-year-old striker played 112 games for Uruguay and
scored 36 goals, representing the South Americans at three World Cups
and helping them lift the Copa America in 2011.
"This was an
extremely difficult decision," Forlan told a news conference at his
Japanese club Cerezo Osaka. "But I felt it was time. Everything has a
beginning and an end - I felt it was time to make way for a new
generation of players. It's time for the national team to go in a new
"It was a great honour to play for the national team and wear the shirt with such great players," he added.
was my dream since I was a kid to play for Uruguay. I remember watching
the players on TV singing the national anthem. It fills me with emotion
to think I achieved that dream, to pull on the shirt and sing the
Forlan, who won the Golden Ball as the 2010
World Cup's best player and finished joint top-scorer with five goals as
Uruguay reached the semi-finals in South Africa, insisted he had no
plans to quit club football.
"I'm not thinking of retiring from
football at all," he said, despite a frustrating season at J-League side
Cerezo last year which saw the Osaka side relegated from Japan's top
flight. "Physically my condition hasn't dipped in the past few seasons
"I want to help Cerezo win promotion this season and I've
put in a lot of hard work in pre-season. My decision to retire from
international football is purely down to timing - with the Copa America
taking place this year and the World Cup qualifiers, I felt I should
Forlan, who had spells at Manchester United,
Villarreal and Atletico Madrid in an illustrious career, bows out of
international football as Uruguay's second highest scorer behind Luis
Suarez (43), having made his final appearance for Uruguay against
Colombia at last year's World Cup in Brazil.
"It will be a strange
experience to go from a Uruguay player to a supporter but I will
continue to support the national team with all my heart," said the
"I always tried to show my quality and spirit on the
pitch, not in words. The Uruguay players don't need me to tell them what
it means to wear the shirt."
J-League chairman Mitsuru Murai praised Forlan for deciding to remain in Japan.
very happy that he has stayed," Murai told AFP. "He's shown he is up
for the challenge. In the short term you don't always get the results
you want but he's shown his desire to stay and fight to help Cerezo's