Only time will tell if Mourinho is best choice: Diego Forlan
Kolkata, Nov 1 (IANS) Unwilling to draw a conclusion on beleaguered Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, Diego Forlan, the highest-paid marquee player in the current ISL, says the Portuguese is good at his job but only time would tell whether he is the best choice for the club.
“He is a very good manager. I’m not someone to judge if he’s the right choice or not (at United). Time will tell,” Forlan, the winner of the golden ball in the 2010 World cup and who dons the Mumbai City FC jersey in the Indian Super League (ISL), told IANS in an interview.
United under Mourinho are eighth in the English Premier League (EPL) table, logging just 15 points despite roping in Paul Pogba in a world-record transfer and having proven stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Going through tough times, the self-proclaimed ‘The Special One’ has even drawn the ire of match officials and was sent to the stands for complaining about a string of first-half decisions by referee Mark Clattenburg as the Red Devils finished goalless against Burnley to suffer their fourth winless EPL game on Saturday.
Former Germany star Michael Ballack has chided Mourinho for his decision to drop Bastian Schweinsteiger from the first team squad, while the United fans have also been jeering the manager of late.
Forlan made 63 appearances and scored 10 goals for United between 2002 and 2004.
Veering from Mourinho to Luis Suarez, with whom Forlan reached the pinnacle of his career in the 2010 World Cup where he not only finished with the most number of goals but also helped Uruguay reach the semi-finals, the blonde-haired forward lauded his compatriot.
“He has been doing really good, and he’s one of best players in his position in the world at the moment,” Forlan said of Suarez, who is part of the famous ‘MSN’ trio comprising Neymar and Lionel Messi.
Suarez is one of the 30 contenders to win the Ballon d’Or after bagging the Pichichi award for most goals scored in a single season. The 29-year-old netted 40 goals this year, leading Barcelona to a second straight La Liga title.
Incidentally, the previous Uruguayan to win the Pichichi was Forlan in the 2008-09 season when he won the prize for his virtuoso display at Atletico Madrid.
That year, however, Forlan missed out on a Ballon d’Or as the fight was between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Asked to compare the two — now that Ronaldo has won a trophy with the national team, Euro 2016 — the soft spoken Forlan remained coy.
“Both of them are great players. You really cannot compare them.”
Forlan, the marquee player for Mumbai City FC, is all for a longer ISL. “It will be better, especially for the players and the talent in the country,” said Forlan, who has so far turned out in four ISL matches for Mumbai.
“Spreading the games out over a larger period is good instead of doing it over two-three months. When there’s a league set up over a period of 9-10 months, like most other leagues in the world, it gives the players an opportunity to play more, train together, get more experience and improve better on a personal level,” the former Uruguay captain added.
Forlan said he has been very impressed with the technique of Indian footballers. “They’re very good players, fast and with great technique. The Indian talent here is quite brilliant,” he added.
Forlan made no bones about the reason for choosing the ISL, saying a great deal lured him to India. “It’s a new league, a new set up. I had a great offer from Mumbai and I wanted to come and experience a new challenge,” he said.
“I had seen some of the games from the first two seasons and saw a lot of great things — packed stadiums, good players and an intense league.”
Forlan has so far scored twice for Mumbai, besides having an assist against his name. “We aim to qualify for the play-offs, that’s our target,” he said about his new team.
(Debayan Mukherjee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)