Fernando Torres Officially Retires After 6-1 Defeat in J-League

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2019

TOSU, JAPAN - AUGUST 23: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Fernando Torres of Sagan Tosu and Andres Iniesta of Vissel Kobe pose for photographs prior to the J.League J1 match between Sagan Tosu and Vissel Kobe at Ekimae Fudosan Stadium on August 23, 2019 in Tosu, Saga, Japan. (Photo by Masashi Hara/Getty Images)
Masashi Hara/Getty Images

Fernando Torres suffered a 6-1 defeat before officially bringing the curtain down on his career on Friday. The former Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea star was on the wrong end of the lopsided scoreline as Sagan Tosu lost to Vissel Kobe in the J-League.

Torres, who announced his intention to call time on his career in June, spoke before his final match, per TalkSport's Oliver Dawnay: "It's been an amazing 18 years, more than 18 years playing football. I won many things. I won the respect of world football, which is the most important thing for me."

Afterwards, Torres thanked the Japanese fans for their welcome and hospitality. He also outlined his plans to continue working behind the scenes at Sagan, per Sky Sports: "I would like you to know that from today I am going to start working alongside the president and the sporting directors to make the club each day a bit better, to make you feel prouder with your club, and hopefully one day you can celebrate a championship title with your club."

Torres was congratulated by his former Spain international team-mates Andres Iniesta and David Villa after the final whistle had sounded:

Jリーグ @J_League

Thank you @Torres ‼️ @andresiniesta8 @Guaje7Villa #ありがトーレス ‼️ https://t.co/mEJTgVqXao

The decorated duo play for Vissel, along with ex-Barcelona playmaker Sergi Samper and former Arsenal pair Lukas Podolski and Thomas Vermaelen.

Torres won UEFA Euro 2008 and 2012, as well as the the FIFA World Cup in 2010 alongside Iniesta and Villa with La Roja, scoring the winner to beat Germany in the final in '08.

OptaJose @OptaJose

1 - Fernando @Torres is the only player to have scored in two differents European Championship's finals ever (in 2008 vs Germany & in 2012 vs Italy). Legend. https://t.co/33UGvCCi6p

Those international trophies were just part of a silverware-laden career for Torres:

Goal @goal

🏆🏆 European Championship 🏆🏆 Europa League 🏆 FA Cup 🏆 Champions League 🏆 World Cup Enjoy your retirement, @Torres! 🙌 https://t.co/qrvFkhiJXD

The 35-year-old rose to prominence as a precocious talent for Atleti, but he was arguably at the peak of his powers once he joined Liverpool in 2007. Torres was an instant hit at Anfield, scoring some spectacular goals and powering the Reds to the cusp of the Premier League title in 2009.

Liverpool's No. 9 became a menace to some of the best defences in Europe. In particular, Manchester United centre-back Nemanja Vidic found Torres difficult to deal with.

NBC Sports Soccer @NBCSportsSoccer

El Niño was one of the best to do it! 👏 Congrats on an amazing career @Torres, enjoy your retirement! https://t.co/gOHWKhYACX

Liverpool FC @LFC

Enjoy your retirement, @Torres 🙌 https://t.co/pAATJ7ouAt

It's not unfair to say some of the magic faded from Torres' game once he left Merseyside to join Chelsea in a deal worth £50 million in January 2011. A slew of injuries slowed the initial burst of pace that had once made the Spaniard so dangerous.

Even so, Torres' time at Chelsea was his most fruitful in terms of European success at club level. He helped the Blues win the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 2011, scoring a memorable goal against Barcelona to seal passage to the final.

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

@Torres 😮 Fernando Torres at the Camp Nou ⚽️ #UCL https://t.co/33ogPBBYx7

Torres played alongside Frank Lampard, and he is still fondly remembered by the current Chelsea boss:

Chelsea FC @ChelseaFC

@Torres Frank Lampard earlier today: ‘A fantastic career, and also a really good man, a good friend. We are still in touch.' https://t.co/rQDVyaXFDR

While his skills appeared to be deteriorating, Torres was able to score the goals to fire the Blues to the Europa League trophy a year later. A return to the Spanish capital in 2014 yielded another Europa League title when Atleti beat Marseille in 2018.

Torres took the moment to move to Japan that same summer. While his career has come to a quiet and somewhat downbeat end, the striker will be remembered for the iconic goals that brought him major success at every level.