Fernando Torres is set to end his glittering playing career on Friday when his Sagan Tosu side hosts Vissel Kobe in a Japan's J-League match.
Ahead of this last match, the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid star has indicated he is happy to retire knowing he 'won the respect of world football'.
"It's been an amazing 18 years, more than 18 years playing football," he said ahead of his final match on Friday.
"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,"
Torres, fondly referred to as El Niño came, saw and conquered the world of football in a unique way.
At his prime, El Nino had everything you'd want to see in a modern striker; pace, strength and finishing ability that rivaled the great Ronaldo Nazario.
The 35-year-old is definitely one of the best strikers in modern football history and collected a host of titles during his highly decorated career which took him from Atlético Madrid to Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan, and Sagan Tosu.
His club journey
Torres joined the Atletico youth academy at the age of 11 and made his debut as a 17-year-old in May 2001, scoring his first goal against Albacete. He was named the club's youngest captain aged 20 and was the star striker finding the back of the net 83 times before moving to Liverpool in 2007 for a fee of 28 million Euros.
At Liverpool, he developed a telepathic understanding with club captain Steven Gerrard and fast became a fan-favorite, and scored on his debut against Chelsea.
He scored 33 goals in his debut season at Anfield, and was unstoppable in the following two seasons with the club, bullying and terrorizing Premier League defenders left, right and center.
He, however, suffered an injury that saw his form take a dip during and after the 2010 World Cup, before finally making a switch to Premier League rivals Chelsea in a 58 million Euro move in January 2011, having scored a massive 81 goals in just 142 appearances.
Torres failed to hit the levels that saw him ascend to the list of top strikers, and took 903 minutes to grab his first goal for the Blues, which was the only goal in his debut season. He, however, managed to find his stride later on and managed to score 45 goals in 172 matches for the club.
Torres scored some important goals for the club, but his most important was perhaps against Barcelona in the Champions League semifinal, rounding Victor Valdez to slot into an empty net and silence the Camp Nou crowd as Chelsea made it to the finals and eventually lifted the trophy in 2012.
AC Milan loan
- El Nino was then loaned out to AC Milan on a two-year deal, but he did not get his career back on track as earlier anticipated. He managed a paltry single goal in 10 appearances and left for Atletico Madrid, where he intended to end his career.
- His return was somewhat a good ending, which included winning the Europa League before heading to Japan. He also served the fans memorable moments in his second spell, including scoring a brace against Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey.
- He was as deadly with the national team as he was in his club football. Together with the then Barcelona striker David Villa, Torres starred for the la La Furia Roja, guiding them to important victories including the World Cup and Euro.
🏆 Trophy cabinet
- His trophy cabinet beats most mid-table teams across the top five Europe leagues, not mentioning personal accolades.
- Fernando Torres scored the only goal in the final as Spain beat Germany to become European champions.
World Cup 2010
- El Nino became a world champion after the Vicente Del Bosque-led team the Netherlands after extra time to lift the trophy in South Africa
FA Cup 2012
- He won his first piece of major club silverware when Chelsea beat his former club Liverpool in the final
Uefa Champions League 2012
- The former Atleti man became a European club champion after Chelsea beat Bayern Munich in the final, having contributed immensely with a goal at Camp Nou against Barcelona
- Torres was in the Spanish team that successfully defended the European title in 2012, finishing joint-top goalscorer and once again scoring in the final
Europa League 2013
- Chelsea beat Benfica 2-1 in the final of the Europa League with Torres scoring the opener.
Europa League 2018
- Having returned to his boyhood club, Torres won the Europa League for a second time when Atletico Madrid beat Marseille in the final
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