FORLAN JOINS J-LEAGUE

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan has undoubtedly become the highest profile player to play in the Japanese J-League in its history. The former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid striker made the move to Cerezo Osaka and stated that it is extremely good for his prospects are the World Cup 2014. Forlan is undoubtedly expected to be in the squad, as Uruguay hope to do well in the World Cup 2014. He was a major influence on the team coming close to an unlikely victory in the 2010 edition. Even at 34 years of age, his influence on the team has not waned.

After spending the last two years with Brazilian outfit Internacional, Forlan decided to make the move to Japanese football. He will be one of the highest earning players in this league after reportedly agreeing a contract worth around $ 5.8 million per year. Contrary to reports, he has stated that the move to Osaka will actually help him do well in the World Cup. Uruguay will be facing a tough group stage since their opponents will be the likes of Italy and England.

Forlan received a huge reception upon his arrival to his new club. More than 1000 fans are thought to have turned up at the airport to see their star arrive. The 34-year-old said that the reception has been unexpected.

“I’m not worried about that at all. The level of football here is very high from both a technical and physical standpoint so if anything, I think this will be good preparation for the World Cup. I’ve never received such a reception. This is my third time to visit Japan and I am always impressed by the level of respect people are given here,” said the striker after completing the move. Forlan has already played in six different countries.

HONDA SIGNS FOR AC

Keisuke Honda has undoubtedly been one of the stars of Japanese football in the last decade and he made a major move by signing for AC Milan. Even though they are not as successful as they once were, Milan will still provide him with an opportunity to get a lot of exposure in world football. The 27-year-old is at the peak of his career. Hence, it was probably right for him to move from a club like CSKA Moscow, which does not have a lot of international pedigree, to a club that has won seven Champions league titles.

The forward has been signed on a free transfer, while also becoming the first Japanese to play for the Italian club. Italian Alberto Zaccheroni, who is in charge of the Japanese national team, says that it will take a lot of mental strength in order to be successful at a club like Milan. Zaccheroni is someone who was Milan extremely well after being linked heavily with the managerial job only in recent weeks. Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri recently announced that he will step down from the post in the New Year.

Despite this, Honda is expected to be a key player for Milan, who have lost a number of quality individuals in recent years.

“Honda has the physical strength, the technique and the mentality to more than succeed in the Serie A at Milan. You need a strong personality to make it at Milan, and Keisuke has that on top of all the other tools you need to have, like the physicality and skill. When (Shinji) Kagawa joined Manchester United, I remember telling him that he was only getting started and signing with them was not his goal,” said Zaccheroni.

Milan are currently in the bottom half of the table after a very poor first half of the campaign.