MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Uruguayan giant Penarol gave former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan his first coaching job on Friday.
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Forlan will replace head coach Diego Lopez, whose contract ends at the end of this month.
The 40-year-old Forlan said in a news conference his brother Pablo will be one of his assistants.
“To have my first experience in a club of traditions and of a high level like Penarol is more than I dreamed of,” Forlan said.
“When you play you notice if you like soccer itself. It isn’t only about playing. I enjoy it, I like it, I analyze it, I see it.”
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Forlan played for Penarol in 2015-2016, near the end of a successful career that also included spells at Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, and Argentina’s Independiente.
FIFA chose him as the best player of the 2010 World Cup, where Uruguay finished third.
Penarol lost the Uruguayan title to archrival Nacional this month.
Los Angeles FC seems to believe it has found the next Diego Rossi, and it didn’t have to look far from the source.
According to major Uruguayan newspaper El Observador, LAFC has acquired 19-year-old winger Brian Rodriguez from Uruguayan giant Penarol with an $11.5 million transfer fee. Rodriguez made his debut for Penarol in March 2018 and has, in the last two years, become an integral part of the squad that won the most recent Uruguayan league title. In 23 games, according to the report, Rodriguez has scored three goals.
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The report states that Rodriguez will play Penarol’s Copa Sudamericana match against Flamengo at Rio de Janeiro’s famous Maracana Stadium on Wednesday before departing for the U.S. to complete the transfer.
In addition to his work at the club level, Rodriguez was identified at a young age by the Uruguayan National Team and has been a key member of both the Under-17 and Under-20 Men’s National Teams. Rodriguez played four times for Uruguay at the recent FIFA Under-20 World Cup, scoring a pair of goals. Uruguay’s U-20 program is what grooms all its players for senior level, and teammate Bruno Mendez has already gotten a pair of caps for the senior team now, just age 19 himself.
For LAFC, it’s quite a bit of money to spend on a young, unproven player, but they’re clearly rolling the dice on a player they think can help bring the club a title this year and beyond.