Fernando Torres announces retirement from football
At 07:00 (Spanish time) on Friday morning, Fernando Torres posted the news to his millions of followers on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
"I have something very important to announce. After 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career", his message read.
He then followed this by announcing when and where he will give more details about his decision: "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".
After 18 seasons as a professional, Torres will retire from football aged 35, having scored 261 goals in 760 club games.
'El Niño' has also played 110 times for Spain and scored 37 goals for his country.
The Fuenlabrada-born forward made his professional debut in the 2000-01 season with Atlético Madrid at just 17 years of age. It came on 27th May 2001 as he came on to play 35 minutes as a second-half substitute against Leganés in a Second Division clash. Just a week later, on 3rd June, Torres would score his first goal in a victory against Albacete.
The following season, Torres scored seven goals in 37 games for Atleti as he helped his side win promotion back to La Liga. He would then spent five fruitful seasons at the Vicente Calderón in Spain's top flight, scoring 14, 22, 20, 13 and 15 goals respectively across his five seasons before signing for Liverpool in 2007-08.
Torres then peaked as a footballer during three and a half seasons at Anfield, scoring 81 goals in 142 appearances, including a quickfire start that saw him notch 33 in his first 46 games. These performances saw him become a fan favourite at Liverpool, before he shocked the football world by moving to rivals Chelsea in 2011. He would go on to score 45 goals in 172 games for the London-based side.
After half a year at AC Milan during the 2014-15 campaign, he returned to his home during the January transfer window. During his second stint as an Atleti player, this time heading into the twilight of his career, he scored 38 goals in 160 games. He also managed to win his first trophy with his boyhood club as he lifted the 2017-18 Europa League.
At 34 years of age, Torres decided to try his luck in Japan and signed for Sagan Tosu, the club for which, at present, he has scored four goals in 32 games, including the one that saved them from relegation in their penultimate fixture of the season.
Torres ends his career with an impressive list of honours. With Chelsea, he won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup, as well as lifting the Europa League with his beloved Atlético Madrid. He also played a key role as Spain dominated international football towards the end of the decade, winning a World Cup and two Euros with his nation, as well as the U17 and U19 Euros at youth level.
Individually speaking, the forward has won various awards, including a European Golden Shoe and awards for the Player of the Tournament at U16 and U19 Euros. a Zarra trophy (2004, awarded to top Spanish goalscorer in La Liga), and the Golden Boot at Euro 2012 and at the Confederations Cup in 2013. Furthermore, he finished third in Ballon D'or voting in 2008 and, in the same year, scored the goal that won Spain the first of their three consecutive international tournaments against Germany in the final of Euro 2008.