Forlan stays in Madrid, bows out of Jakarta friendly

Despite a much-awaited world-class soccer showdown, 2010 World Cup best player Diego Forlan will be absent from an international friendly in Jakarta on Friday.

According to Spanish sports portal AS.com, the Uruguayan striker was expected to rest and complete a physical examination at Cerro del Espino, Athletico’s training camp.

Forlan will travel to China on Friday, where La Celeste will play another friendly on Oct. 12, four days after the squad is scheduled to finish their Jakarta friendly at the Bung Karno Sports Stadium.

The friendly will earn the South Africa World Cup semifinalist team more than Rp 4 billion ($448,000) in match fees  – and could have netted the team an additional $20,000 if Forlan appeared.

Indonesian Soccer Association National Team Body head Iman Arif said: “We will ask for a renegotiation if [Forlan] fails to show up for any reason other than an injury. We have not yet paid him the appearance fee.”

Under terms of the original deal, the entire 25-member Uruguay national squad was to have played in the friendly match. Only 21 arrived. Three players, including Abel Hernandez of Palermo, were injured.

Forlan, whose five goals in Johannesburg made him one of the World Cup’s top scorers, was scheduled to arrive in Jakarta Tuesday night along with most of La Celeste’s players, including coach Oscar Tabarez, striker Luis Suarez of Ajax, and goalie Fernando Muslera of Lazio.

Athletico Madrid’s striker was not seen among passengers who arrived on five flights from the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, and Uruguay on Tuesday.

The Red and White squad will include three guest players from the Netherlands: Jhon van Beukering, Tobias Waisapy and Rafael Guillermo Maitimu.

“Honestly, our national team is not in its optimum condition. Many were injured. Hopefully, the presence of these three foreign players will fuel our squad with the spirit of competitiveness and confidence,” Iman said.

Six Indonesian players, including Ricardo Salampessy and fullback duet Nova Arianto and Maman Abdurahman were still recovering from injuries, while Oktavianus Maniani, Zulkifli Syukur, and Budi Sudarsono were absent from a Wednesday morning training session.

“We are still expecting [Forlan’s] arrival on the last flight group at 8:50 p.m. [on Wednesday] from Portugal,” Joko Driyono, chief executive of PT Liga Indonesia, the local official committee for the Friday’s friendly, said on Wednesday.

As of Wednesday, 3,000 of 62,000 tickets available for sale had been purchased at the ticketing booth at the PSSI office in Senayan, while the Rajakarcis recorded 1,000 booked tickets.

“Forlan’s absence is not the cause low sales. Most of Indonesian soccer fans prefer to buy on the spot at D-Day,” he said.

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