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.
I have something very important to announce. After 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career. Next Sunday, the 23rd at 10:00AM, local time in Japan, I will have a press conference in Tokyo to explain all the details.See you there. pic.twitter.com/WrKnvRTUIu
— Fernando Torres (@Torres) 21 June 2019
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.
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):
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) 21 June 2019
At his peak Torres was a special, special player. It feels like his peak didn’t last long enough in some ways but from 2007-09 he was breathtakingly good. https://t.co/7S8x8u7658
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarrett) 21 June 2019
'El Nino' retires.
Was never as gutted as many when he left Liverpool because it was clear he had peaked.
In his prime, the best striker in the world, though. Incredible player.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) 21 June 2019
Fernando Torres has announced his retirement. In full flow, he was wondrous: fast, furious, strong, so technically gifted, nightmarish for markers. He'd have you shouting 'WHAT A [insert expletive] GOAL!' seemingly on repeat.
Watching El Niño at his best was magic. He was magic.
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) 21 June 2019
.@Torres defined an era for me; that partnership with Gerrard under Rafa was a joy to behold. At his peak he was the perfect No.9. What a player.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) 21 June 2019
His armband proved he was a red, Torres, Torres.
You’ll Never Walk Alone it said, Torres, Torres.
We bought the lad from sunny Spain, he gets the ball he scores again.
Fernando Torres, Liverpool’s number 9. BOUNCE!
Thrilling for #LFC at his best, sold after his peak. Good luck
— Kop Magazine (@TheKopMagazine) 21 June 2019
— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) 21 June 2019
— Danny Gallagher (@Danny7Gallagher) 21 June 2019
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) 21 June 2019
For 3 seasons, Fernando Torres was absolutely incredible for Liverpool, scoring 0.84 non-penalty goals per 90. That's better than Henry (0.73), Kane (0.72), Shearer (0.71), Aguero (0.71), Suarez (0.69) or van Nistelrooy's (0.58) three best consecutive Premier League seasons.
— Omar Chaudhuri (@OmarChaudhuri) June 21, 2019
33 – In Fernando Torres' debut season with Liverpool in 2007-08, the Spaniard scored 33 goals; only Mohamed Salah (44 in 2017-18) has ever scored more in his debut season for the Reds. Retiring. pic.twitter.com/vHHAzTp0wB
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 21, 2019
Enjoy your retirement, El Nino!