With the departure of Samuel Eto'o, Inter Milan was beginning to look a side rather weakened since its thunderous Champions League success from 2010. The loss of mega-coach Jose Mourinho and the pathetic attempt of continued success under Rafa Benitez has greatly disrupted any hopes for a return to the top of Italian and European soccer. Additional losses to the squad included the talented yet delusional Mario Balotelli and the tricky Ricardo Quaresma.
Now this past summer with Eto'o gone and rampant speculation surrounding Wesley Sneijder's potential exit to Manchester, hope seemed quite dim. That is, until the late deal with Atletico Madrid secured the arrival of Diego Forlan, one of the most decorated players in recent history. What Diego Forlan brings to the table (and what Eto'o often lacked) is the ability to perform on the big day.
Let's go back to the spring of 2010. With Atletico trailing in extra time to Liverpool in the Europa Cup semi-final, Forlan scored the decisive goal to seal their progression. Not to forget his goal in the first leg victory. In the final, his two goal performance against Fulham won the game and he was awarded man of the match.
In the summer, during the 2010 World Cup the Uruguayan hero scored outrageous goals from distance and led his team to the semi-finals where they were simply outclassed by Holland. However, he did all he could scoring a dramatic first half equalizer before his team mates let him down. His five goal effort throughout the tournament was rightly appreciated with the Golden Ball award, marking him the tournament's best player.
Although his following club season was rather disappointing, Forlan returned to top form in the 2011 Copa America tournament. After an enduring draw facing Argentina in the opening playoff round, penalties ensued. Forlan confidently converted his try. The media's favorite transfer gossip boy and homesick whiner, Carlos Tevez, failed to convert for the home team. Thus Uruguay was able to defeat the hosts, whose talented roster included Lionel Messi, considered to the best player of our time.
In the final Forlan again was clinical, firing two goals past the Paraquay side. Diego became the third Forlan generation to lift the Copa America, and he was finally gifted with a dream move to Inter Milan, who will play in the Champions League.
With a talented attack including Diego Milito and Wesley Sneijder (who decided to remain at Inter after all), Inter Milan is starting to shape up as a team who could challenge Barcelona for top trophies. Diego Forlan wins the big games. He is one of those odd late bloomers of a footballer who has reached the top of his game at age 32. He likely has at least 3 good years left in him and will prove to be the best signing this summer. Look out for Inter to regain some of its pride that was lost this past season.