Diego Forlán InterviewBy: Al | November 5th, 2009
I’m not a big fan of reprinting news, but this interview was one that I had to share with everyone. It was done with Marca, just in time for the derby clash on Saturday. El Cacha talks about everything from Champions League elimination, Real Madrid, Quique Flores’ methods, World Cup qualification, and more.
Don’t F around with that babelfish translation shit, I translated it just for you. Warning: it’s quite long.
How do you see the dressing room after the elimination from the Champions League?
It hasn’t been too difficult because we knew that we had to win every single match in order to have a possibility to get into the next round. What we looked for against Chelsea was to find what Quique wanted, which was an adequate system for our team’s abilities. We had the match under control after Kun’s 1-0, but what we wanted was to find the rhythm to help the team function again.
What did Quique say after the match against Chelsea?
He didn’t say anything in particular. He shook our hands and talked about punctual things during the match. But nothing in particular. What’s true is that you really can’t say much right after matches.
Porto and Chelsea are both big clubs. But doesn’t it hurt to be out of the Champions League when there’s still two matches left to be played?
What’s difficult is not being eliminated, but to be so low in the group and to be in relegation zone. That’s what is difficult. In these first few months, we didn’t play well in the League nor in the Champions League. And now what we have left is to qualify for the Europe League.
Last year, the team didn’t lose once in Europe after 8 matches. In this one, you haven’t won out of the four. What happened to you guys in this competition?
It’s not only the CL. It’s general because we have only won one match in all competitions. The match against Chelsea was positive because we did well and we made chances. We controlled the match, something which is very positive. Just like they had chances as well. This is fundamental in order to keep on working toward what Quique wants.
Now it’s your turn to battle against APOEL for third place. Isn’t this an objective that wouldn’t be too ambitious for a squad like Atlético? Are you motivated?
The Europa League is still motivation for us. It’s true that the Champions League is an important tournament, but we’re not in contention any more and we must look ahead. And there’s nothing else but the Europa League.
And in that path, you run into Real Madrid. Do you think that a victory over your biggest rival will help you forget the disaster of being eliminated from the CL?
We were all aware of the situation. What we need to do is fight so that the team goes back to what it once was. We’re the same players and we need to gel as soon as possible.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence have an effect?
He is, without a doubt, one of the best players in the world. Real Madrid has played some matches without him, but they still have a squad with great players. They’re one point from Barcelona and that says it all. Cristiano is a great player, but whoever takes his place will do just as well.
You and Higuain arrived to Europe very young, to big clubs and you had to work hard to make your place. What do you think about the Argentine striker?
El Pipita is a great player. He’s growing more and more and his progression as a player hasn’t stalled.
Pellegrini was your manager at Villarreal. Do you still keep in touch with him? Have you talked about the crisis in Madrid?
No, I don’t keep in touch with Pellegrini.
What do you think about the new Real Madrid? Do you find the criticism a little exaggerated for a team that’s second in the league?
The criticism is understandable. The players at Real Madrid are very experienced and know that at big clubs, there are many comments and critics. But the league is long. They’re a point from the lead and despite that, there is always a but.
What do you think about the debate over Raul starting, the other number 7 of the derby?
He has been at Madrid for a long time and has scored an infinity of goals. He has sacrificed much. There aren’t words to define Raul. His career is untouchable. He’s a great player that doesn’t play in the position that he’s best in, inside the box.
Which one of Real’s weak points will you try to take advantage of this Saturday?
We have to try hard during these matches. We must give our all, despite them having a great team. The example that we’ll be following is the match against Chelsea. We played them well and we ended up achieving a draw.
What does a player at a big club think when he sees his team in the relegation zone?
It feels bad to see us in such an uncomfortable situation. But it was worse before, because in addition to being so low we weren’t doing well in the football aspect. In the last matches, we demonstrated that we’re more confident, worked harder, and were more united. We’re in relegation zone, but it’s still a long path. We’re sure that we’ll keep on working to improve and to achieve results fast.
Has the club’s institutional crisis affected the team?
We really don’t care. We need to isolate ourselves from that environment and from the problems. Our job is to work on the pitch for what Quique wants and asks of us. We have to work together more by the day.
Does the team really have enough time and quality to re-enter the CL like Quique said during his presentation? Which teams will be your greatest rivals?
It’s complicated. There are many teams that are just as strong and it’s hard just to say names. We need to work hard and collect points to climb back up.
How far ahead is Real Madrid and Barcelona from the rest of the teams?
We are very behind. In recent fixtures, some teams have equaled them talent wise. But Barcelona, in a football aspect, is a step ahead of the rest of the teams. In Spain and in the world.
Has there been contact with Real Madrid and Barcelona’s people in the past summer?
I don’t know if anything was certain. I knew there were rumors and I don’t know if they were true or not. I’m not interested.
Do you regret continuing at Atlético? Do you think you will finish your career here?
I haven’t signed the renewal yet. We’re almost there. I’m very happy and don’t regret continuing here, but it’s too soon to know if I’ll finish my career here.
Next week is the World Cup playoff against Costa Rica. What does this playoff mean to you and to a country like Uruguay?
The playoff is very important, and vital. What’s more important is to qualify because it’s important to the entire country. We need to win and go to South Africa.
At Uruguay you share the attacking roles with Luis Suarez, a forward that has been mentioned as a possible signing for your club. Do you think that he’ll join you in playing under the same Atlético badge?
I have a good relationship with Luis because we play together on the national team. If he signs here, he’ll be welcomed
Not too long ago you received your second Golden boot. Nobody has won this prize three times in Europe. Do you wish to win it a third time?
A third Golden boot would be incredible. But it’s nothing easy because like you said, nobody has done it yet. I’m already happy having won two. The first was nice. The second, incredible.
What has Quique brought within his first week? Do you notice his work?
Quique has worked a lot tactic wise, also in organizing the team in many aspects. There isn’t much time between matches and we need to assimilate quickly to what we’re learning.
Was sacking Abel the solution to the problems, or the obvious action for the club in a moment of crisis?
Unfortunately, in football you run into this circumstances and when a team isn’t well, the first thing to do is to sack the manager.
Do you want to send a message to the supporters?
To the supporters, I say that we aren’t well, but to have patience with us. We want to win and bring many joys to the people.