MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 14, 2009: We've won it five times... Liverpool's Fernando Torres reminds fans of his club's European pedigree as he celebrates scoring the equalising goal against Manchester United during the Premiership match at Old Trafford. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fernando Torres announces retirement – and Liverpool fans laud the career of El Nino

Ex-Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has called time on a legendary playing career that included 81 goals in 142 games for the Reds between 2007 and 2011.

Torres announced his retirement in a statement on social media on Friday morning, telling his 3.66 million Twitter followers “after 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career.”

The Spaniard is set to “explain all the details” at a press conference in Tokyo on Sunday, with his current club being J1 League outfit Sagan Tosu.

After spells with Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan and back with Atleti, Torres joined the Japanese side last summer, before renewing his deal in January.

But he had only featured sporadically this season so far, with his retirement imminent.

Torres only spent four seasons with the Reds, but made a remarkable impact in his time at Anfield, and though his move to Chelsea soured his reputation on Merseyside at the time he is now cherished by most supporters.

One of the most high-profile signings in the history of the club, the striker produced a phenomenal run of form at Liverpool, scoring 81 times in 142 outings.

Liverpool, England - Sunday, August 19, 2007: Liverpool's Fernando Torres celebrates scoring the opening goal against Chelsea during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Thirty-three of those came in his debut campaign in 2007/08, a Reds record until Mohamed Salah netted 44 times in his maiden season with the club in 2017/18.

At his peak, Torres terrorised defences, and terrified Nemanja Vidic in particular, with his ‘five times’ celebration after scoring in the 4-1 win over Man United at Old Trafford in March 2009 becoming iconic.

He would need to add another digit to that now, of course, but though Liverpool have finally moved on without Torres, he is still one of the club’s best-ever strikers.

This is evidenced in the reaction of fans on social media after the 35-year-old brings to a close a career that saw him win the World Cup, the Euros (twice), the Champions League and the Europa League (twice):

Enjoy your retirement, El Nino!