Just after his election, Barack Obama’s style was described by Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian as “cool, civilised, imperial“, creating a vivid image of the Obama persona, whatever the reality.
The Knife considers Diego Forlan, leader of enigmatic Uruguay, to possess similar qualities. Five goals, with a typically tantalising near sixth with the last kick of his World Cup, are just the statistical mark of an exceptional leader and man.
Rarely smiling on the pitch, Forlan’s brooding intensity and huge work-rate are spiced with football at an exceptional tactical and aesthetic peak. Talented finalists such as Arjen Robben possess none of Forlan’s charisma, the sense of a nation carried on his shoulders, of a team swept on to an unfeasibly high level of achievement by his persona and flair.
It’s no surprise that Forlan’s life has been touched by tragedy, with his sister Alejandra paralysed in a car crash, her boyfriend killed. Forlan has raised huge amounts of money to support her and to help associated charities for the disabled , as well as to campaign against dangerous driving.
Great footballer, great man.