Fernando Torres’ career highlights as he retires from football

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Tissues at the ready, football fans, because Fernando Torres is about to bring the curtain down on his glittering playing career.

The Spanish striker announced back in June that he would be retiring from football.

And now the day has finally come for Torres to say goodbye. It’s going to be emotional.

Torres’ final match in professional football will be for Sagan Tosu against Vissel Kobe in the top-flight of Japan’s J-League.

The match kicks off at 11:30am UK time, which means Torres will officially be a retired footballer by 1:30pm.

"It's been an amazing 18 years, more than 18 years playing football," Torres was quoted as saying by Sky Sports this week. "I won many things. I won the respect of world football, which is the most important thing for me, and now I have only one game left.

"So, I will make sure that I will enjoy from the first until the last minute and hopefully we can get the three points, which are very important for us, and hopefully I can score my last goal at home in front of Sagan Tosu fans.

"It's going to be a really special game for me, but it's not going to change the way I feel about my career. It's been fantastic. Much better than I could expect when I was a kid. So, I'm really grateful for what I did and really grateful to all my fans around the world."

To mark the end of Torres’ playing career, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back over El Niño’s career highlights.

Bursting onto the scene with Atletico

Torres broke into the Atletico Madrid first team as a teenager and never looked back.

He scored 91 goals in 244 appearances during his first spell with Atleti, cementing his status as one of the world’s most exciting young strikers in the process.

The Spaniard was snapped up by Liverpool for around £20 million in the summer of 2007.

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Scoring 24 goals in his debut season for Liverpool

Torres took the Premier League by storm, scoring 24 goals in England’s top division in his first season with the Reds.

He netted 33 goals in all competitions that term.

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Becoming a Kop Idol

Torres quickly endeared himself to the Anfield faithful.

Who can forget this classic Nike advert?

Scoring the winner in the Euro 2008 final

By this point, Torres was probably the best No. 9 on the planet.

He scored the only goal in the Euro 2008 final against Germany, helping Spain to end their long wait for a trophy.

Terrorising Nemanja Vidic

One man who absolutely hated playing against Torres around this time was Nemanja Vidic.

The legendary Manchester United defender always seemed to get sent off whenever he found himself up against Liverpool’s star centre-forward. He couldn’t handle him.

Winning the World Cup

Torres was part of the Spain squad that became world champions for the first time in 2010.

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Sealing a £50 million move to Chelsea

He broke the British transfer record after completing a controversial £50 million move to Chelsea in January 2011.

It took Liverpool fans a long time to forgive him, but Torres felt it was in the best interests of his career to leave Anfield.

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*That* goal against Barcelona at Camp Nou

There’s no getting around the fact that Torres was a huge disappointment at Chelsea, but he still produced some unforgettable moments.

His famous goal away at Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final - resulting in Gary Neville’s ‘goalgasm’ - is iconic.

Winning the Champions League with Chelsea

Torres’ decision to join Chelsea looked entirely justified on the night of May 19, 2012, after helping the Blues win the Champions League for the first time in their history.

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Winning Euro 2012 and finishing joint top scorer

Torres added a third major international trophy to his collection in 2012 after helping Spain win the European Championships again.

He came off the bench to score in the final. That was his third goal of the tournament, which left him as the joint top scorer alongside several players including Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Return to his beloved Atletico

Torres is, and always will be, a hero in the eyes of the Atleti fans.

He returned to his former club on loan in December 2014 before sealing a permanent move back in July 2016.

Torres scored 38 goals in 160 games during his second spell with Los Rojiblancos.

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Winning the Europa League with Atletico

He wasn’t able to help Atleti win the Champions League - though he came agonisingly close in 2016, when they reached the final but were beaten by Real Madrid - but he did help deliver the Europa League in 2018.

Diego Simeone sent Torres on as a 90th-minute sub in a 3-0 win over Marseille.

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Playing against Andres Iniesta in Japan

And finally, playing against his childhood friend Andres Iniesta in Japan.

It’s fitting that Iniesta will be an opponent in Torres’ last ever game on Friday.

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Thanks for the memories, Fernando.

The football world will miss you.

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