Our former no. 21 bagged 17 goals in his 2.5 years at the club, including a memorable brace against Legends of the North opponents Liverpool back in December 2002.
This, along with his penchant for some stunning finishing, endeared him to the Old Trafford faithful so much that his name is still sung on the terraces to this day. Diego spoke to us of his joy on being reunited with the fans.
“Yeah, it’s going to be really exciting,” Diego enthused. “I’ve not been back since the 25th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson’s appointment, but on that occasion I was unable to go to the stadium, so this is going to be so exciting for me and my family.
“It will be beautiful to pull on the shirt and play in front of the fans again,” he added. “It is unbelievable that they keep singing my name. I’m really, really proud and it’s something that is really great for me. To be here in Uruguay, sometimes with my family and my wife, watching the game and they start singing my song – it’s unbelievable.”
The famous chant originated following his aforementioned match-winning contribution against the Merseysiders in the 2002/03 season, so the Uruguayan is well-versed in what this game means to the fans.
“This kind of derby is always competitive,” Diego said. “I remember the feeling when I was playing and I still see it when I watch on TV – this is what is beautiful about football, how competitive it can be. Everybody wants to win these games and it will definitely be competitive.
“The one thing I really remember when I scored against Liverpool was after the game, when Gary [Neville] came to me and said: ‘You don’t know what you’ve done; you will be remembered for this for years.’ That the fans still recognise this, you can see just what it means!”
Diego will be joined by a host of other club legends in a team managed by Bryan Robson, with all profits raised going towards Manchester United Foundation’s community projects. Forlan recalled fondly the team’s annual Christmas hospital visits, now organised by the Foundation.
“I remember every year near to Christmas, when the whole team went to hospitals to be with the kids in the afternoon. It was a very lovely time trying to take them a big smile. It is always in my memory.
“At the end, this is what is important and the players, the fans, everybody knows that this is for a very good cause. I am sure that everybody will enjoy the day and it’s even better knowing that this is going to go towards helping the Foundation.”
The epic match-up will take place on Saturday 21st May at Old Trafford, and fans wishing to attend can find more information and purchase tickets here.
All proceeds from the Old Trafford match will go to Manchester United Foundation’s work with young people across Greater Manchester.