Diego Forlan has juggled between title-winning campaigns and a series of bleak seasons around the world at a club-level. The journeyman has had stints with Manchester United, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Mumbai City FC, Cerezo Osaka, Kitchee FC among other clubs. Top leagues have presented him a first-hand view of the level of football played in Europe, South America and Asia. Yet, Forlan pauses multiple times as he struggles to answer which European league plays the best football in the world.
“They all have a great level. Also, it depends, as last year there were two (teams) in the Champions League final and two in the Europa League final. So, that’s four English teams doing well. But many years ago, there were Spanish teams (in UCL/Europa finals). I think the level is more or less the same, at least for the top ones. Then you could see the difference in the fifth, seventh and eighth-placed teams from each league. But between the best four leagues from each country, the level of football is almost the same,” Forlan told Republic TV after tires manufacturers BKT inked a three-season deal with LaLiga to make them their official global partners.
Forlan played 12 matches for Mumbai City FC in the 2016 Indian Super League (ISL). The Uruguayan striker was impressed with the potential of Indian players he played with but feels there is a need for strong mental conditioning to produce young talented players from the ISL.“They (ISL) can learn a lot. It’s difficult to say. They need many good coaches. It is good that they are building it up, so you need to be patient and get young players who are strong mentally. They should also have an understanding of how to play the game,” the 40-year-old explained.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot winner’s ISL stint might have been short-lived, but it was enough to know whether the Indian football is heading in the right direction. “The last time I was in India was three years ago. So it’s difficult for me to say if India is moving in the right direction. I can’t say. Back when I was playing, we didn’t train much. You don’t have many days to train, you had time to recover and rest. But this was when the league was held over a short window,” the former Uruguayan striker told reporters on Monday.