Former Atletico, Liverpool and Spain star Torres to retire

By Ryan Benson 21 June 2019 26
Former Atletico, Liverpool and Spain star Torres to retire

Former Atletico Madrid and Spain striker Fernando Torres has announced he is to retire after 18 years in professional football.

The 35-year-old had been playing in Japan's J.League with Sagan Tosu, but will be mostly remembered for his spells with Atletico and Liverpool, plus a hugely successful international career with Spain.

Torres helped Spain to their first ever World Cup title in 2010 between back-to-back European Championship wins in a period of dominance for La Roja.

But the striker has called time on his playing career with an announcement on social media.

"I have something very important to announce," he wrote on his official Twitter account. "After 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career.

"Next Sunday, June 23 at 10:00AM, local time in Japan, I will have a press conference in Tokyo to explain all the details. See you there."

Torres came through the ranks at Atletico having joined them as an 11-year-old in 1995, and at the age of 17 he was a fixture in the first-team squad.

Although his first full campaign in the side was by no means spectacular, scoring six times in 36 Segunda Division matches, Atletico earned promotion and Torres got his first taste of LaLiga football in 2002-03.

A haul of 13 goals in 29 games followed and Torres went on to establish himself as one of the league's most promising forwards, despite playing in a generally underwhelming Atletico side.

In 2007 he became Liverpool's record transfer in a deal reportedly worth £20million, when Luis Garcia's move the other way was taken into account, and he made a huge impact with the Reds, scoring 24 goals as he took the Premier League by storm in his debut campaign.

He remained a serious threat in the following two campaigns despite numerous injury problems, netting 32 times from 46 games, but in 2010-11 he sought a new challenge and moved to Chelsea for £50m, winning a Champions League title with the Blues.

But a lack of form and more injuries ensured Torres looked a shadow of his former self at Stamford Bridge and at AC Milan, whom he joined on loan, before returning to Atletico in 2015.

Initially an 18-month loan, Torres failed to rediscover his best form at Atletico, though he helped them to Europa League win in 2018 shortly before leaving for Japan.

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Ryan Benson