Kolkata, Aug 2 (IANS): Uruguyan Diego Forlan, the best player in the recent FIFA World Cup, Sunday expressed his eagerness to return to India, saying he has "thoroughly enjoyed" his stay here.
A cheerful Forlan spent a long time at the Salt Lake Stadium cheering the Challengers’ XI - comprising young soccer talent spotted from the districts by the newly-launched Bengali entertainment channel Mahua Bangla as part of a football reality show - which played an exhibition game against a Mohun Bagan XI.
Wearing a black T-shirt and denims, the star striker shook hands with each player of the Challengers’ XI, and posed for a group photo with them ahead of the match.
Though almost ringed by security, on several occasions Forlan mingled with the boys and seemed to relish every moment of his closeness with the budding players.
The Uruguyan also kicked off the match by passing the ball to one of the Challengers’ XI forwards and then took his seat on the sidelines with Brazilian World Cupper Branco, the head coach of the side.
As the Challengers’ XI went down 0-1 at the breather, Forlan was seen explaining graphically to the team support staff on a piece of paper the tactics and strategy the young side should adopt.
At the half time, Forlan addressed the about 40,000 strong crowd at the stadium.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here, and would definitely like to come back to India. I once again thank the organisers for their support," said the 31-year-old, who played a pivotal role in catapulting Uruguay to their first semifinal finish at the World Cup in four decades.
After the game, Mohun Bagan president Tutu Bose presented a scarf to the soccer celebrity.
But Forlan got the loudest cheers when he uttered some words in Bengali. "Jamiye din, saraadin" (Enjoy, the whole day).
Forlan, who arrived in the city July 30, is scheduled to leave in the wee hours of Monday.