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Uruguay international striker Diego Forlan has joined Cerezo Osaka from SC Internacional of Brazil on an estimated $5.8 million a year, a record for the increasingly austere J-League.

The 34-year-old has agreed to play for Cerezo in the upcoming March-December season, the club said in a statement posted on its website.

Forlan played 55 times and scored 22 goals for the Brazilian side he joined in July 2012. He has previously played for big European clubs including Manchester United, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.

At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, he was awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player and was a joint top scorer with five goals.

Cerezo Osaka, where Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa cut his teeth, will pay Forlan an estimated annual wage of 600 million yen ($5.8 million), according to media reports.

That will break the previous J-League record of 300 million yen paid to former England striker Gary Lineker when he joined Nagoya Grampus in 1993, the J-League's inaugural year.

In the league's early years, its clubs spent lavishly to recruit the likes of Lineker, Zico and Pierre Littbarski. But with limited attendance and unspectacular TV money, the league has had to manage without big names on its team sheets.

In 2013, Brazilian-Japanese defender Marcus Tulio Tanaka of Nagoya Grampus was the best paid J-League player with an annual wage of 160 million yen, according to local media.

Forlan will be the first big name in a long while to play in the J-League and his arrival is likely to liven up a national game that has seen many of its top talents decamp to Europe.

"Forlan can shoot at distance. He is also deft in front of goal," former Celtic midfielder Shunsuke Nakamura told the Tokyo Sports daily.

"The J-League has been without foreign players who also play for their countries," added the Yokohama Marinos star, 34, who retired from international football after the 2010 World Cup.

"I hope he will pump up the league with great performances."

Japan and Southampton defender Maya Yoshida said it was "amazing" that a player of Forlan's caliber would change club only months before the World Cup in Brazil.

Writing on his blog, he noted changes like that usually come after the tournament, adding: "This means he's dead serious."

The writing has been on the wall for weeks now and on Tuesday evening it was made official that Diego Forlan will sign with Cerezo Osaka. The Uruguayan parted ways with Internacional and he's decided to go abroad as the next step in his career. The move officially culminates his 18-month stay in Brazil where he had more lows than highs and his salary of nearly US$300 thousand per month will be rid of by the Colorado Gaúcho.  

Forlan had struggles throughout his time with Inter, yet his lone shining run of form was in last year's Gaúcho state tournament where he was the leading goalscorer with nine goals and helped his club win the final against Juventude. That form extended into the early stages of the Brasileirão but his form went into free fall after the Confederations Cup. His last goal in the league was on July 13th when he earned a brace against Fluminense.  

Uruguayan sports daily Ovaciones reported that the former Atlético Madrid man signed an 18-month contract with J-League side Cerezo Osaka. Ironically, the Uruguayan international signs on the 12th anniversary of him signing with Manchester United from Argentine side Independiente. The reaction to the story was received with a great deal of criticism as many are speculating that his move could risk his spot in the World Cup. As far as it affecting that part of his career, that is still to be seen as he is one of Oscar Washington Tabárez' main men.   

Cerezo Osaka, a team that ended up fourth in the J-League, will become the seventh team that the Uruguayan international has played for and Forlan will be the lone South American on a side that will begin their 2014 J-League campaign on February 28th against Hiroshima Sanfrecce on the road at the EDION Stadium.  


Former Manchester United forward Diego Forlan looks set to move to Cerezo Osaka of Japan, reports said Wednesday, with hopes that the Uruguay international can rev up the J-League.

The 34-year-old is in the final stages of talks with the Japanese outfit, the Nikkan Sports and Yomiuri Shimbun among others reported.

Cerezo will make an official announcement in a few days, the Daily Sports said.

Forlan, winner of the Golden Ball award as the media's best player at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, currently plays for SC Internacional of Brazil. As well as Manchester United, his former clubs include Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid.

The J-League has lost many of its top talents to European clubs.

"He will surely attract the attention of people other than Cerezo fans. The Forlan effect could jazz up the J-league as a whole," said the online edition of the Sports Nippon.