Thought I'd make its own thread about this one.....you can tell by this just what a guy Forlan is (and hopefully in a spurs shirt soon)
Maradona's many assists to Uruguay's Forlan - International Football - Yahoo! Sports
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Diego Maradona’s World Cup ended in disappointment on Saturday, but the Argentina coach has had an unlikely hand in the tournament’s biggest Cinderella story.
Uruguay striker Diego Forlan has been one of the stars of this World Cup, with three goals in the South American team’s surprising charge into the semifinal, where it meets the Netherlands on Tuesday. Yet, Forlan’s success story would not have been possible without Maradona, who has had a huge impact on his life, both within soccer and outside of it.
When Forlan’s sister Alejandra was paralyzed in a car accident that killed her boyfriend in 1991, Maradona stepped in to assist with fundraising efforts that eased the financial plight of the family, which had seen its comfortable middle-class existence ripped apart by medical bills of more than $250,000.
His sister’s plight was what convinced Forlan, then 12 years old, to dedicate himself to a career in soccer instead of tennis, determined to make enough money to make his sister’s life as comfortable as possible.
“The first thing he told me when I was lying in the hospital was that he would be a famous football player and make money to get me the best doctors in the world,” said Alejandra, who now heads a charity organized by her brother named in her honor.
Forlan, though, was still years away from hitting the big time. Maradona, a friend of Forlan’s father, Pablo, a former Uruguay international, stepped in to donate an undisclosed amount and provide priceless publicity.
Yet the route to stardom and, possibly, World Cup champion may have stalled if not for another piece of goodwill from Maradona.
As Forlan began to emerge as a rising star in South America, banging in goals for Argentinean club Independiente, Maradona alerted his network of contacts in Europe to the raw ability of the youngster.
Within months, English Premier League giant Manchester United swooped in with a lucrative transfer, ending the family’s financial difficulties once and for all.
While Forlan’s switch to Manchester United struggled in the early stages, it provided a learning curve that would give him the platform to move on to greater success in Spain, where he is now established with Atletico Madrid and known as one of the world’s most dangerous forwards.
Even now, at the age of 31, his sister’s plight continues to be a motivating factor.
Alejandra Forlan, five years older than her brother, was returning home from a party with her boyfriend in September 1991 when their car spun off a treacherous coastal road and smashed into a palm tree.
Days later, the entire Forlan family congregated around a hospital bed to be told she would be permanently paralyzed.
“She was an inspiration to me then and she has been ever since,” Diego Forlan said. “She is a special person with a special spirit. She helps to spur me on and I represent her on the field.”
Alejandra, who will likely spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair, has become a spokesperson for the disabled community in South America.
“It gives me such joy to see him perform,” Alejandra said. “I know how hard he worked to get to this point and he deserves every success in the world. When he runs, he is doing it for me too.”