‘A longer ISL will interest lot of pros’

Netting a FIFA World Cup-winning goal is the pinnacle for the biggest strikers in interntional football. Uruguay’s best showing was fourth position at 2010 World Cup when Diego Forlan was upfront prowling around the goalmouth. The ace forward did the best he could,winning the FIFA Golden Boot even though his national side was fourth.

A volleyed goal by the 37-year-old for Uruguay against Germany was named ‘Best Goal’ by FIFA in that event. Two-time Golden Shoe winner

(Valencia and Athletico Madrid) for goals scored in European football, Forlan will take a bow in the Hero Indian Super League 2016 for the first time for Mumbai City FC as marquee player. Armed with a reputation forged in some of the world’s toughest leagues (Atletico Madrid in La Liga, Inter Milan in Serie A, Manchester United in EPL).

The Uruguayan was in a pro in the J-League 2014 for Japanese team Cerezo Osaka when he saw ISL on television, liked what he saw. Two seasons later, he is competing after a move from Uruguay club Penarol.

The Excerpts:

Name the goalkeeper you respect the most and why? Name the top

three goals in your career (for club or country)

Iker Casillas is a goalkeeper I respect a lot. He is great, played at the highest level for many years and still is performing. My best three goals are (for Uruguay in 2002 World Cup against Senegal, against Germany in 2010 World Cup for the 3rd place) and (for Manchester United against Glasgow Rangers in the Champions League).

You mentioned about watching the ISL matches on TV in Japan, playing for Cerezo Osaka in the J-League (2015). Is the money offered by ISL teams attractive enough to interest J-League players in future?

Of course, the offer is an important part. It is also important to know if the league is going to be longer. If it’s a longer league, it’s certainly going to interest me and a lot of other players. However, if the ISL is going to run for 5-6 months or more, I would suggest the organisers to figure out an alternative housing solution. Living in a hotel for 5-6 months will not be ideal.

Japan and South Korea qualify for FIFA World Cup on a regular basis, but players from these two nations are not seen in ISL so far. Do you think a longer duration competition will be attractive for them?

Like I said, there are two key factors – the duration of the tournament and an alternate plan for players’ housing. A longer league will be an attractive prospect not just for Japanese and South Koreans and but for most pro footballers across the world.

The 2002 World Cup saw you and Mumbai City FC head coach Alexandre Guimaraes taking part (you as a player making WC debut and him as Costa Rica national team coach). Any memorable moments from WC 2002?

The goal I scored against Senegal. We were trailing 0-3 and then came back 3-3. We almost won at the last minute, but did not score and so did not qualify for next round.

2010 World Cup in South Africa saw spectacular goals by you for the national team. The volleyed goal against Germany was rated the ‘Best Goal’ of that World Cup. Can you describe how the goal happened?

It was quick. A move on the right side involving Arevalo Rios (later Uruguay captain) and Luis Suarez (currently with FC Barcelona). Arevalo saw me outside of the box and crossed. The ball was coming high so I tried to hit it as well as I could.

You excelled as a pro for clubs in Spain (Atletico Madrid), Italy (Inter Milan), England (Manchester United), Brazil (Internacional) and made an impact in each football playing nation. Germany, against whom you struck a wonder goal, is missing in your CV. Any reason for giving the Bundesliga a miss?

It wasn’t that I rejected the Bundesliga. Had there been an offer, I would have considered it, but there wasn’t any.

When you are wearing the Uruguay jersey and walking out to play on the football pitch, what changes happens inside (emotionally)? Is your mindset different from a must-win club game for Atletico Madrid for example?

Yes it changes. It’s different, you play for your country, your family, friends, people that you know, so it’s totally different.

Luis Suarez, another quality striker from Uruguay, is a fighter always looking to dominate defenders and score. How can a coach bring out the best in such competitive characters?

I don’t know, I’m not a coach at the moment, but am studying to

become one. In the future, if I’m a coach, I can answer that question.