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Diego Forlan’s Insane Career in Football Shirts (1997-2019)

I have and will always have a proper affection for Diego Forlan, even if he wasn’t the best for my own football club, I’m so glad that we got to see the best of what he had to offer.

How good was Diego Forlan?

In truth, he was very, very good.

One of the most honest and explosive strikers of his generation.

But unlike a few of the other players in our ‘Players Careers in Football Shirts‘ list, he wasn’t blessed with immediate talent and a career to match, he had to really work against the grain a lot.

From his early days in South America to his memorable spells in Europe, Forlán’s journey through football is not just a tale of triumphs and tribulations but also a showcase of iconic jerseys that symbolize pivotal moments in his illustrious career. Join us as we take a nostalgic journey through Diego Forlán’s footballing odyssey, revisiting his most memorable jerseys in chronological order.

Club Atlético Independiente (1997-2002)

Diego Forlán began his professional career at Club Atlético Independiente in Argentina, where he honed his skills and showcased his prodigious talent. Which he did pretty darn well.

During his time at Independiente, Forlán wore the iconic red and white stripes of the club, representing the rich tradition and heritage of Argentine football.

It was here that he made a name for himself as a promising young striker, catching the eye of scouts from across the globe with his goal-scoring prowess and technical ability. As well as his gung-ho nature of doing whatever was necessary to get the win for his team – even at his own risk.

Finding pristine shirts from his time here has proved a near-impossible task!

Manchester United (2002-2004)

It could easily have been Middlesbrough in this slot if it wasn’t for Sir Alex!

In 2002, Diego Forlán made the leap to European football by joining Manchester United, one of the most storied clubs in English football history. Who just so happened to be in a bit of a transition…

During his two-year spell at Old Trafford, Forlán experienced a topsy-turvy period of his career in the Premier League as he initially struggled to nail down a starting role under the manager.

Eventually, he toiled away how he knew best and forced his way into scoring a number of critical goals for the club, both domestically and at European level. He’ll always be remembered for his famous brace vs Liverpool at Anfield as well as his knack of only scoring good and/or important goals.

That white Vodafone jersey can go in excess of about £100 now, and similarly for the home shirt with the Champions League decal. I used to have the white one… and then I washed it (in the washing machine). If only I had this article to tell me why I shouldn’t do that. RIP.

Villarreal CF (2004-2007)

The arrival of Wayne Rooney (among others) rendered Forlan’s time in England moot.

Forlán’s time at Manchester United may have been brief, but it laid the groundwork for a successful stint at Villarreal CF in La Liga. And it completely broke my heart to see him leave.

At Villarreal, Forlán showcased his goal-scoring prowess while wearing the club’s distinctive yellow jersey, in a way that he promised to show at Old Trafford but couldn’t with any consistency. Once he moved to Spain, it was as if all of his inhibitions and insecurities went with it!

His partnership with strike partner Giuseppe Rossi and his knack for scoring crucial goals propelled Villarreal to new heights in Spanish football, including a memorable run to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League in the 2005-2006 season.

Not to mention an incredible creative partnership he forged with Juan Roman Riquelme behind him. Shirts of his time here are hard to find, but should fall short of the £80 mark for a good one.

Atlético Madrid (2007-2011)

In 2007, Diego Forlán’s stock was higher than ever, and it seemed that Villarreal had hit a ceiling when the bigger boys came calling for his signature in the summer of 2007.

Forlán’s time at Atletico Madrid was defined by his incredible goal-scoring exploits and his heroics in the UEFA Europa League, where he played a pivotal role in guiding Atlético to victory in the 2009-2010 season, while working with the likes of a young Sergio Aguero.

Clad in the iconic red and white stripes of Atlético, Forlán became a symbol of hope and inspiration for the club’s passionate supporters. Average price being at around £70.

Inter Milan (2011-2012)

Forlán’s journey through European football continued with a brief spell at Internazionale in Serie A, where he added another chapter to his storied career, albeit an underwhelming one.

His contributions helped Inter secure a memorable victory in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2011, further cementing his status as a footballing icon, but it wasn’t ever going to last long given the number of young strikers coming through and the naturally stifling nature of Serie A football.

Shirts from this era aren’t in high demand, and available for around £50.

Cerezo Osaka (2014-2015)

After his European adventure, Diego Forlán embarked on a distinctly different partition in his footballing journey by joining Cerezo Osaka in the J League of Japan.

During his time at Cerezo Osaka, Forlán donned the club’s distinctive pink jersey, becoming a fan favorite with his performances on the pitch and his commitment to the team’s success. All the while being one of their main press options whenever called to go on the mic.

Despite being thousands of miles away from his native Uruguay, Forlán’s impact at Cerezo Osaka was felt both on and off the field, as he continued to prove his enduring quality as a top-class striker.

Now cultured and waning, there was an initial clamour for his Osaka shirts as he broke a number of records when he signed. Pristine versions can be found online for around £60.


Diego Forlán’s love affair with football came full circle when he returned to his boyhood club, Peñarol, in Uruguay. Forlán’s homecoming was met with great fanfare, as he donned those iconic black and yellow stripes, but few mint condition versions exist online to comprise the list.

This was a real pleasure for me to speak about the career of Diego Forlan.

Who, for me, joins a long and unfortunate list of strikers dwarfed by the alien talents of his competitors than we forget how brilliant they really were. And Diego Forlan really was a brilliant striker.

Which of these Diego Forlan shirts would you put in your collection?