SAO PAULO (AP) — Uruguay striker Diego Forlan is trying to turn goals into fan support in Brazil.
Forlan, voted the best player at the 2010 World Cup, has been criticized by Internacional fans for not playing up to expectations after arriving as one of the Brazilian league's most high-profile signings.
His latest performance could turn his season around.
Forlan scored twice in Internacional's 2-1 win over Vasco da Gama, keeping the team in contention for a Copa Libertadores berth next season.
"I'm very happy for the match yesterday," Forlan said Thursday on his Twitter account. "Thank you very much for the support."
The performance could be what Forlan needed to get the fans behind him again. He has been struggling since arriving in July and was even jeered in some matches.
After a recent loss by Internacional, fans painted messages on walls near the team's Beira-Rio Stadium calling the 33-year-old Forlan a "former player."
Forlan has scored five goals in 14 matches with Internacional so far. His first goals only came in September, though, when he scored twice in a 4-1 win over Flamengo. He also scored again later that month in a match against Bahia.
"Forlan is very important to this team," Internacional striker Dagoberto said. "Not only because of the goals — his presence alone helps."
Internacional coach Fernandao said the good performance against Vasco was a sign of things to come.