Forlan recalls playing with Fred
Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan has spoken about his time at Internacional with current Reds midfielder Fred.
The Uruguayan, who played for Sir Alex Ferguson's side between 2002 and 2004, went on to play in South America for Internacional a decade later.
Whilst at the Porto Alegre outfit, he lined up alongside a certain young Brazilian making his breakthrough in the senior game and the pair even combined for a couple of goals.
Forlan set up Fred for a strike against Palmeiras in October 2012 and, the following May, Fred claimed the assist for a Forlan goal away to Vitoria.
Forlan, who is returning to Old Trafford for the first time to play in the Legends of the North charity game against Liverpool on 21 May, enjoyed working with his fellow South American as he eagerly tried to make his mark.
"He had his debut when I was there at Internacional," explained Diego. "We played together just one, one-and-a-half years, I think. Since I arrived there, I think, for one year and a half and was playing a little bit forward in midfield. I know now he’s playing as a central midfielder. He’s a very good player, a good left foot and he has very good technique.
“He scored goals in those moments, I know he’s little bit away from being close to the goal now but he has a couple of goals for United. In that moment, he was just closer to the goal and he had some goals for Internacional.”
When asked if he was a similar character to the smiley one he is today or a little more shy and reserved, due to his age, Forlan replied: “Yeah, he was young. He had his debut. He was a nice guy. He was not that shy back then, he was training with us and playing in the first team.
“He was very, I’m not saying a funny guy, but was always smiling and, you know, a very good guy.”
While Fred is in action for already-qualified Brazil in their World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Bolivia, there are crunch fixtures for Uruguay. Edinson Cavani and Facundo Pellistri are in the squad for the games with Peru and Chile which will determine whether they make it through to the finals in Qatar later this year.
“Yes, big games," accepted Forlan. "We have one we need to win, against Peru, and we will have full capacities as everybody is looking forward to that game. Every game in qualification in South America, they are very difficult but the team is good, they have very good players. Playing the last two games, they did really well and, if we win this game, then we have to wait for the result from Brazil and Chile as they are playing against each other.
“If Brazil beat Chile, and we beat Peru, we will go straight to the next World Cup. I think we are in a good position, you know. We need to win against Peru, that’s the key game. Of course, then we have Chile but, if we win against Peru, we have one step near the World Cup.”
Watch Diego Forlan and other former stars of United and Liverpool play in the Legends of the North game at Old Trafford on 21 May.
Tickets are still available for the match, which is raising funds for Manchester United Foundation.
Header image credit: Alexandre Lops/SC Internacional