Proud Forlan basks in century glory
© AFP

Diego Forlan spoke of his "great pride" on Wednesday as he contemplated the prospect of becoming the first player to make 100 international appearances for Uruguay.

The 34-year-old striker will reach the landmark in Thursday's FIFA Confederations Cup encounter with Nigeria, 11 years after pulling on the light blue shirt for the first time against Saudi Arabia in March 2002.

"It's a matter of pride, being the first player to play all these matches for the Uruguay team," said the former Manchester United and Atletico Madrid striker.

"I saw an article today, and I said the same thing yesterday - through all the things I've experienced in my career, I never imagined I'd be playing my 100th match at the Confederations Cup.

"And the match tomorrow (Thursday) means a lot. Obviously it's 100 matches for me, but it's a key game and we have to win in order to reach the next phase.

"It's a matter of great pride to wear the light blue shirt so many times, and I hope I can continue doing this."

Through all the things I've experienced in my career, I never imagined I'd be playing my 100th match at the Confederations Cup.
Uruguay forward Diego Forlan

The Brazilian city of Salvador will provide a fitting setting for Forlan's milestone moment.

His father, Pablo, played for Brazilian clubs Sao Paulo and Cruzeiro during his professional career, and Forlan followed in his footsteps by signing for Porto Alegre side Internacional last year.

"For me to play here in this Confederations Cup is an award that was given to me by the national team," Forlan said.

"I've been in Brazil for one year, so I'm very happy to be in a place where my father played. The reception I got in Recife (where Uruguay lost to Spain) was spectacular."

Form slump
Since spearheading Uruguay to success at the 2011 Copa America, a year after they reached the semi-finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Forlan's form has dipped, and he joined Internacional after an unhappy stint at Inter Milan.

Uruguay are also going through a difficult period, currently lying fifth in South American qualifying for next year's FIFA World Cup, but coach Oscar Tabarez said it was unfair to attach blame to Forlan.

"There are too many factors in football to say that a team depends exclusively on one player," he said.

"That's not the case. He's a player who has more influence than normal players, which we know. But footballers are human beings. Sometimes the level of their performances oscillates."

The game against Nigeria will present Forlan with an opportunity to reclaim Uruguay's outright goal-scoring record, after Luis Suarez drew level with him on 33 goals by scoring a late consolation against Spain.