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Forlan still sweet on Man United support

The Uruguayan international, who now plies his trade with La Liga outfit and Europa League holders Atletico Madrid, has admitted he still keeps in touch with his former employers, despite leaving Old Trafford in 2004.

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Forlan, now 31, was linked with a move back to the Premier League during the summer with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur being touted among the potential suitors.

But the former Red Devil has reiterated his desire to stay at the Vicente Calderon off the back of a World Cup campaign which saw his native Uruguay finish fourth, with Forlan receiving the coveted Golden Ball after being named the best player at the tournament.

And he revealed that he remained buoyed by the support and encouragement he received from Manchester United's coaching staff throughout.

“The gaffer sent me several texts during the World Cup,” he told United's official website.

“He [Ferguson] offered support and encouragement, which I appreciated. He’s always watching and never misses anything. I also keep in touch with Mike Phelan, Rene [Meulensteen] and Martin, the manager’s brother.

"Players drift apart so I don’t have any contact with the players but I still have contact with United people."

Despite finding the net only 17 times in 98 appearances during his time at Old Trafford before moving onto Spanish side Villarreal - where he won the Pichichi Trophy in his debut season scoring 25 goals - Forlan recalled his special relationship with the Red Devils’ supporters and how indebted he is to the faithful who still chant his name today.

"It’s unbelievable. The first time it happened was just after I left. I wasn’t sure how the fans would be with me because my time at United was not perfect. By 2005, I needed to play every week and feel like a footballer,” he said.

“The gaffer understood that. That’s when I joined Villarreal and that turned out to be a great move. I played every week and scored lots of goals in a good team. I had a great understanding with [Juan Roman] Riquelme."

Forlan recalled one particular moment which made the Montevideo-born player question what he was hearing ringing around Old Trafford.

“A few months later, I was watching United against Liverpool with my brother at home near Villarreal.

“And we heard the song: ‘He came from Uruguay, he made the Scousers cry.’ We just looked at each other as if to say, ‘Are we hearing the same thing?’ He was as happy as me and we smiled for the rest of the game."

Although Forlan has his sights set on a successful season in Madrid he still watches his former Premier League club as much as possible when not donning the red and white of his new team.

“I try and watch United and I’ll often see games in a hotel somewhere in Spain, waiting to play.

"Sometimes I hear them sing and the team-mate I am rooming with will say, 'What are you smiling for?' Then I’ll explain. They can’t believe United fans still sing my name so long after I left.”

By Stuart Appleby

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