Cites example of China and says success in football is much tougher

Diego Forlan is familiar with football structure in Asia and in tune with ambitions in our region. The South American goal-getter (named best player at 2010 World Cup) made interesting observations about the aspirations of China and Japan, during an interaction on the sidelines of La Liga’s global partnership agreement with Balkrishna Industries Limited (BKT).

Forlan pointed out that big money pumped to attract famous players, as seen in the Chinese Super League over the decade, is no guarantee of football success. He said: “China put in a lot of money to bring in famous players. They have been doing this for some years now, though now it is not on the same scale as before because it is not easy (to get results) though they have the money.”

China, ranked 68th in the world and eighth in Asia, qualified for the World Cup only once — in 2002 — where it lost to Brazil, Turkey and Costa Rica.

Stunning show

Asked to explain Japan’s stunning show in World Cup 2018 (beating Colombia to be the first Asian nation to defeat a South American power), the ex-Atletico Madrid star said, “When Japan was new as a footballing nation, its teams were coming to Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay to learn football. They have good players, a strong league, top-class training facilities and money as well.”

Talking from experience as a widely-travelled pro (see box) he said, “Japan thinks they will be champions in future, it is not that easy. I know their mentality. They have technology and feel that with technology and planning, results will come in time. One plus one is supposed to be two, but one plus one is not two in football, they do not understand that.”

Forlan added, “Japan will struggle a little bit, because with all the facilities, quality players, money they should do better. Knowing their capacity and thinking, they feel if we have a plan and do it for 20 years, we will be champions. Winning in football is much tougher than that.” Japan is ranked 31st in the world, as per the latest list.

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