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Sep 15, 2009

Forlan says wrong studs ended United career

Diego Forlan says his Manchester United career ended when he failed to wear the right boots for a vital game against Chelsea, thus risking - and engaging - the wrath of Sir Alex Ferguson. Forlan took 27 games to score his first goal for United and failed to find the form during his Old Trafford spell between 2002 and 2004 that subsequently marked him out as one of the best strikers in Europe with both Villarreal and Atletico Madrid.

His time at United came to an abrupt end when Forlan opted not to follow advice to wear boots with larger studs, and getting caught in the act.

"(Manager Sir Alex) Ferguson wanted me to play with high studs, the interchangeable ones that suit wet pitches," Forlan told the official Champions League magazine. "But I feel more comfortable in low ones. I agreed to change boots, but I didn't. Against Chelsea, I slipped in front of goal and wasted a chance. Afterwards, I rushed to the dressing room to change boots. Ferguson caught me. He grabbed the boots and threw them. That was my last game for United."

Despite his goal drought, United fans remember Forlan fondly, most specifically for a double at Liverpool during their 2002-3 title-winning campaign as well as vital goals against Chelsea and Southampton in the same season.

While a move to Villarreal may have brought his time at United to a premature end, it did not signal a breakdown in relations between Forlan and Ferguson - who rang the South American with some inside information on Arsenal during his Villarreal days.

Roy Keane also remained in contact - and Forlan revealed the Irishman tried to buy him during his time in charge at Sunderland.

"Roy Keane's charisma, his personality on and off the pitch - he's a gentleman," said Forlan. "In training he'd explain things in a good way - and sometimes in a bad way, because it mattered When he was boss at Sunderland, he called me all the time to go and play for him."

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