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Uruguay striker Forlan the surprising Golden Ball winner

Forlan Golden Ball

Diego Forlan scored five goals at the 2010 World Cup, creating a four-way tie with Thomas Mueller (Golden Boot winner for having more assists), Wesley Sneijder and David Villa.

- AFP

Uruguay striker Diego Forlan was surprisingly awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the 2010 World Cup.

The Atletico Madrid star Forlan five goals at the tournament, as his country finished in fourth place after losing a third-place play-off to Germany.

The former Manchester United player polled 23.4 percent of the votes awarded by media covering the tournament, with Wesley Sneijder, of runners-up Holland, on 21.8 percent, and David Villa, of newly-crowned champions Spain, taking 16.9 percent.

"This is award that I won thanks to my teammates," wrote Forlan on his Twitter account, a post accompanied by a photograph where the striker is standing with other players.

"It was taken before they threw me in the swimming pool," he explained.

Uruguay's performance at the World Cup was the country's best in 40 years.

Forlan succeeds Zinedine Zidane, who was named top player of the 2006 World Cup despite his infamous red card in the final defeat to Italy.

Forlan's victory was a surprise, as five players who featured in Sunday's final (Villa, Xavi, Andres Iniesta of Spain and Holland's Arjen Robben and Sneijder) all figured in the list of 10 nominees.

The 31-year-old Forlan also won the Europa League last season with Atletico Madrid.

 

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