Diego Forlan delivered some harsh words for his current club on Wednesday in a televised interview in his native Uruguay.
The Cerezo Osaka striker has come under fire from Japanese media for his lackluster performance this season, scoring just seven goals in 26 appearances for Cerezo as they were relegated to the second division.
“[Japanese players] don’t understand the significance of relegation because fans don’t pressure them,” he told El Observador TV via Skype. “There’s no pressure for them to win or lose.
“It was strange to know that we had been relegated and see [my teammates] laughing during training the next day.”
Forlan’s last start for the club came in August, near the end of Marco Pezzaiuoli’s winless three-month stint as manager. The former Manchester United star frequently found himself watching from the sidelines after Pezzaiuoli was replaced with youth coach Yuji Okuma in September.
“I was frustrated because Okuma didn’t allow me to help in the last three months,” Forlan said. “He always had an excuse to keep me from playing, saying that he wanted to defend more than attack.
“He clearly didn’t bench me for poor form, because then he’d have to bench the entire team.”
The 35-year-old entered the J-League with much fanfare in January, winning over fans and media by opening his press conference with a statement in Japanese. Nearly a year later, Forlan is singing a different tune.
“After [club president Masao Okano] denounced me, nobody at the club wanted to see me,” Forlan lamented. “My teammates ignored me; for two months I only talked to my translator. Luckily [former Germany international] Cacau eventually arrived.”
Forlan, who appeared in his third World Cup earlier this year, was critical about the Japanese style of play.
“[Japan] take football as a science when it’s not,” he reflected. “They do things without an objective. Japanese people are very naive in some aspects.
“When Hotaru [Yamaguchi] and [Yoichiro] Kakitani said they wanted to bring the World Cup to Japan, neither of them believed it. They only said it because that’s what people wanted to hear.”
Cerezo are considering whether or not to exercise the remaining half-year option in Forlan’s contract, which would come at a cost of over €2 million. The player himself appears ready to distance himself from a club – and a country – that delivered far from what he expected.
“Nobody from [Cerezo] has spoken with me about my contract since we were relegated,” Forlan admitted. “I want to go to a team that wants me.”