Former Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Liverpool star Fernando Torres officially retired from the sport on Friday, 23rd August.
The Spaniard played his last football match for J1 League club Sagan Tosu against Vissel Kobe, where Torres’s former teammates – Andres Iniesta and David Villa ply their trade. His side went on to lose the encounter 6-1 with Iniesta scoring one of the goals as well.
Torres gave an emotional speech after the match and both Iniesta and Villa stayed on for his farewell. The 35-year-old brought an end to a glorious 18-year long career which saw him win the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship, Champions League and Europea League.
“Even when in the danger of being relegated last year, everyone continued to be professional and hard-working,” Torres told the crowd.
“They kept their positive attitude no matter how hard things were. I really learned a lot from everyone and I hope everyone learned something from me, even a little bit. I hope I can move forward.
“Thanks to all of Japan for accepting our family. Please know that there is a wonderful country called Japan.”
Iniesta had earlier penned an open letter for his friend and former teammate as well, which was published in El Mundo.
“Football brought us together more than 20 years ago, when we were children. Well, you will always be El Nino. And it will never separate us,” the former Barcelona midfielder wrote.
“We began away from spotlights and cameras until we came to share thousands of experiences before winning a World Cup for our country.
“When we meet in Spain, I’ll show you that shirt, that treasure that nobody else discovered. Although it is true, there is no greater treasure than your friendship, Fernando.”