August 7, 2019 / 12:01 PM / 3 months ago

Soccer: Former Uruguay striker Forlan announces retirement

FILE PHOTO: Jul 29, 2019; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Legendary Atletico Madrid player Diego Forlan is introduced during the MLS WORKS and Target All-Star Community Day event at Neptune Middle School. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

(Reuters) - Former Uruguay striker Diego Forlan has announced his retirement, bringing to an end a 21-year career in which he played club soccer on three different continents.

Forlan, who started his career in South America with Argentine club Independiente, played for major European teams such as Manchester United, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan before ending his career in Asia.

Forlan, 40, was also instrumental in Uruguay’s run to the 2010 World Cup semi-finals, where he was awarded the Golden Ball for best player at the tournament and finished as one of the tournament’s top scorers with five goals.

“After 21 years I made the decision to end my career as a professional footballer,” Forlan said in a statement.

“A beautiful stage closes full of great memories and emotions but another of new challenges will begin. Thanks to all who in one way or another accompanied me on this path!”

Forlan won the Premier League and FA Cup with United before moving to Spain where he helped Atletico win the Europa League in 2010 with a double in the final against Fulham.

He also led Uruguay to the Copa America title in 2011, grabbing another two goals in a final, when they beat Paraguay 3-0.

After a short stint in the Indian Super League with Mumbai City in 2016, he last played for Hong Kong Premier League side Kitchee Sports Club last year, wrapping up a career where he scored over 250 goals for club and country.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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