Spanish football legend Fernando Torres, 35, has announced his retirement.
“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 10:00 am, local time in Japan, I will have a press conference in Tokyo to explain all the details,” commented Torres on a social media post on Friday.
The striker, known as “El Nino” (the kid), began his career with Atletico Madrid, before moving to Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan, reports Xinhua news agency.
He left Atletico for a second time at the end of the 2017-18 season to finish his career playing for Sagan Tosu in the Japanese J-League.
Torres scored a total of 260 goals in 760 career appearances. Eighty-one of those goals came with 142 games for Liverpool, prompting Chelsea to pay a then British record transfer of 50 million pounds (63.5 USD) to sign him in 2011, although he struggled to recapture his goal-scoring form at Stamford Bridge.
Torres also made 110 appearances for Spain, netting 38 goals, including the goal which won Spain the 2008 European Championships against Germany, opening the door for a golden era which also saw the Spanish side win the 2010 World Cup and 2012 European title.
However, it is with Atletico where Torres is an authentic legend; he made his first-team debut as a 16-year-old and made 244 appearances before joining Liverpool in 2007.
He then returned for four more seasons in 2014 and although he no longer had the pace which made him such a lethal striker, he still averaged a goal every four appearances, while his willingness to give everything in every game made him one of the most loved players in the club’s history.