Most soccer players are motivated by the love of the game, along with the glory, girls, and money that come with playing at the peak of the world’s most popular sport.
However, one of the stars featured in the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup has an additional, more moving reason for becoming one of the game’s elite players.
Uruguay striker Diego Forlán is inspired by his sister Alejandra Forlán who was paralyzed in a car accident when he was a teenager.
Diego’s father Pablo played international soccer for Uruguay and featured at the 1966 and 1974 World Cup.
His grandfather, Juan Carlos Carazo, also played the game, most famously for Independiente in Argentina.
The teenage Diego was not set to follow in their footsteps. Instead he was focused on a promising tennis career.
However, following the car accident that left his sister Alejandra in intensive care for five months, as well as killing her boyfriend, Diego vowed to make enough money to pay for her medical bills and future care.
So the young man swapped rackets and points for boots and goals.
After working hard as a youth player, Forlán signed with Independiente, the club his grandfather had played for.
His 37 goals in 80 appearances for the Argentine club attracted the attention of English Premier League side Manchester United, who paid $10.5 million to sign the Uruguayan in January 2002.
However, Forlán struggled in England and had to wait eight months to score his first goal.
In August 2004, as Manchester United was signing Wayne Rooney, Forlán was sold to Spanish club Villareal.
The striker quickly rebuilt his reputation in Spain, scoring 54 goals in 106 games.
In 2007 he was bought by Atletico Madrid as a replacement for Liverpool-bound Fernando Torres.
Forlán’s goal-scoring form continued in the Spanish capital and he scored twice to help Atletico win the 2010 Europa League final.
Forlán has been a regular fixture for the Uruguayan national team since 2002 and has scored 27 goals for his country.
His three goals in South Africa have helped the national team reach the semifinal of the World Cup for the first time since 1970.
Diego and Alejandra are founding members of the Fundacion Alejandra Forlán.
The charity aims to warn people of the perils of dangerous driving and is well-known in their home country.