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Atletico Madrid ace takes accolade after outstanding tournament...

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan has claimed the prestigious Golden Ball, awarded to the tournament's best player, for his performances at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

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Forlan, who scored five goals for his country on their way to a fourth-placed finish, picked up the accolade, as voted for by the world's media, ahead of both the Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder and Spain striker David Villa.


Uru-guy | Forlan excelled for South Americans

How Forlan triumphed

GOLDEN BALL
SILVER BALL
BRONZE BALL

FORLAN
VOTE %: 23.4

GOALS: 5
ASSISTS: 1


SNEIJDER
VOTE %: 21.8
GOALS: 5
ASSISTS: 1


VILLA
VOTE %: 16.9
GOALS: 5
ASSISTS: 1


Deemed something of a failure during his time at Manchester United, Forlan arrived in South Africa with the bit between his teeth, desperate to prove his worth on the world stage having excelled during his time in Spain with both Villarreal and, most recently, Atletico Madrid.

Supported by the impressive Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, Forlan spearheaded Uruguay's attack throughout the tournament and, despite not troubling the scorers in his country's opener against France, was off the mark with two goals in a terrific attacking display against hosts South Africa.

The 31-year-old was always involved and hungry to impress whether it was the first or last minute of each and every game and following a telling contribution in the round of 16 win over South Korea, where Forlan crossed for Suarez to open the scoring in a 2-1 win, he again proved his Golden Ball credentials in the quarter-final.

A man of the match display against Ghana saw him score a wonder strike from a free-kick before he kept his cool in the penalty shoot-out to help his side set up a semi-final clash with the Netherlands.

Despite losing out against the Dutch, Forlan was hugely impressive once again as he beat goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg with a swerving long-range effort in a match where it was later revealed he had not even been anywhere near fully fit.

Uruguay's loss was seemingly Forlan's gain as, in the 3-2 third place play-off defeat to Germany, the ex-Manchester United man was in imperious form as he showed sublime technique to volley home after 51 minutes before striking the bar with a dipping free-kick in the final seconds of the match.

Defining moment

Forlan announced himself at the 2010 World Cup with a tremendous individual performance against South Africa in the group stages although his goal against the Netherlands proved he could mix it up with the so-called 'big boys' of the tournament.


Captain's goal | Forlan dragged Uruguay back into the game against the Dutch

Atletico Madrid 2009-10

The 2009-10 season proved to be an extremely fruitful one for Forlan at club level as he helped Atletico win the Europa League with a brace in a 2-1 win against Fulham in the final in Germany.

Not only was the former Independiente hitman the star of the show in Hamburg, Forlan grabbed two goals in the semi-final triumph over Liverpool, including an extra-time winner at Anfield, to set up the clash with the Cottagers.

Atletico finished a disappointing ninth in La Liga although with 18 goals, Forlan was the Spanish league's fifth highest scorer behind such names as Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa.

Golden Ball winners since 1982

World Cup
Winner
Country
1982
Paolo Rossi
Italy
1986
Diego Maradona
Argentina
1990
Salvatore Schillaci
Italy
1994
Romario Brazil
1998
Ronaldo
Brazil
2002
 Oliver Kahn
Germany
2006
 Zinedine Zidane
France
2010
Diego Forlan
Uruguay

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