If it's on trophies and trophies alone, there can be no debate that Fernando Torres is one of the greatest strikers of the modern era.
There are other factors to consider, though, but even then, the evidence is stacked in the legendary Spaniard's favour. Here's why.
💫 Atlético Madrid's boy wonder
El Niño, as he was affectionately known coming through the ranks in the Spanish capital, is a club icon. Torres made his Atléti debut as a 17-year-old on May 27th 2001. By the age of 19, he was captaining his boyhood club and when all was said and done, Torres bagged 121 goals in 351 games across two spells for the Rojiblancos.
📦 The complete package at Liverpool
In full-flow, Torres was a devastating proposition for defenders in the Premier League because he had virtually every single trait that is required of a top-level striker. Pace, power, aggression and aerial ability were all features of his game but his technical quality was severely underrated too. First, he would bully you in the air and then he'd bamboozle you on the ground. What are your options then?
This goal against Blackburn really sums up a guy who was one of the most fearsome finishers on the planet at the time.
🔵 Inconsistency and then glory at Chelsea
Price tags tend to follow players around everywhere they go in football, and the €58.5m figure that Chelsea shelled out for Torres in 2011 weighed heavily on the Spaniard's back. Most observers expected him to hit the ground running and show his mind-boggling brilliance right from the off, but that wasn't the case. Torres in a red jersey was a tough act to follow, even for Torres himself.
El Niño did come up with the goods when the Blues really needed him to though. A decisive strike on the counter at the Nou Camp in the 2012 Champions League semifinal 2nd leg will live long in the memory of Chelsea supporters. Overall, Torres' time in London wasn't the best spell of his career on a personal level, but he's got plenty of silverware and lasting memories to show for it. That includes Champions League and Europa League winner's medals.
🧚 A fairytale return to Atléti
Torres' second stint with Atlético Madrid was capped by Europa League glory in 2018; Fernando Torres had come full-circle and finally won silverware with the club for which he made his first debut some 17 years earlier. Consistency and top-level performances well into a player's 30s are hallmarks of the greats, and Torres winning a major European trophy aged 34 wasn't a bad way to bring the curtain down and place himself in that bracket.
He even went on to enjoy a short spell with Sagan Tosu in Japan as he concluded his world tour.
🏆 Trophies, trophies, trophies
Two benchmarks are usually quite useful when it comes to assessing world-class attackers; trophies and their goal output. Fernando Torres gets resounding ticks in both of these boxes. 81 goals in 142 Liverpool appearances, 121 strikes for Atlético Madrid and that's before we consider his stellar record for Spain.
🇪🇸 Torres in a Spain jersey
39 goals for La Roja puts him third in the all-time reckoning with his 111 national caps placing him ninth all-time, and he's keeping some superb company. Torres was a key cog in Spain's Golden Generation that went on to enjoy unprecedented success, winning three consecutive major tournaments at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. It was Torres who scored the only goal of the game in Euro 2008's showpiece event against Germany.
🎯 A stunning array of goals
Torres scored all types of goals throughout his career. Poacher's efforts, long-range screamers, towering headers and opportunistic snatch-and-grabs. His efforts at Anfield were arguably some of the most special.
Now in charge of the Atléti U19s, Torres remains a firm fan favourite. If his considerable experience and know-how can brush off on just one of the current crop, there may be someone special coming through the ranks before long at the Wanda Metropolitano.