Fernando Torres announced his retirement from professional football aged 35 on Friday following an outstanding career spanning 18 years.
Having started his senior career with Atletico Madrid, the Spaniard went on to play for Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan, Atletico (again) and Japanese club Sagan Tosu.
He’s fondly remembered for his time at Liverpool, where he spent four years from 2007 to 2011 and became one of the world’s most feared strikers.
A controversial £50m move to Chelsea in 2011 sparked a sharp decline for Torres, who was never able to rediscover his best form.
His final game will be against Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe on August 23rd.
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In a statement on Instagram, Torres wrote: “I have something very important to announce. After 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career.
“Next Sunday, the 23rd at 10am local time in Japan, I will have a press conference in Tokyo to explain all the details. See you there.
Before adding in a separate post: “My last professional match will be on August 23rd against [Vissel Kobe].
“It will be very emotional to say good bye to football next to my friends [Iniesta] and [David Villa]. Let’s enjoy this [sic] last two months.”
Torres also held an overnight press conference where he explained the reasons for announcing his retirement and reflected on his career.
One man who received a mention was Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who Torres once again said is his best ever teammate.
“I always say the best player I played with is Steven Gerrard,” said Torres. “I found he was the player who completed my game.
“I think my level got into a different dimension when I was on the pitch with him. It was an amazing three-and-a-half years playing alongside Steven.
“I would love to go back to those days – even for one minute.”
Liverpool are in a very good position at the moment under Jurgen Klopp, but Kopites would no doubt love to go back to the days of Gerrard and Torres linking up.
They were a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League and should have achieved so much more together.