One of the most storied careers in the history of Spanish football, certainly in the modern era, is due to come to an end after 18 wonderful years whenFernando Torresfinally hangs up his boots after facingAndres Iniestaone last time, and we at MARCA wish to thank him.
As part of the gloriousSpainsquad which conquered both Europe and the world in 2008 and 2010 respectively,Torres‘ contributions to the domestic game can’t really be measured.
At just 17 years old he broke into anAtletico Madridteam that was on its knees after being relegated fromLaLiga, yet he didn’t let the pressure get to him.
He carried that team on his young shoulders and did so for years, eventually becoming one of the youngest captains in club history.
Yet, he did something that wouldn’t be well received at most clubs, he leftAtleticoto further his career, and they respected him for that.
He didn’t leave for one ofLos Rojiblancos’eternal rivals inReal MadridorBarcelona, but rather forLiverpool, a club thatTorreshad always admired from afar.
Not only did he score the winning goal in theEuro 2008final, but it was the nature of the goal that made it so special.
It was his run which made the pass fromXaviappear so good, it was his incredible speed which leftPhilipp Lahmin his tracks, it was his chipped finish overJens Lehmannwhich set Spanish football onto a decade of dominance.
You can often tell a player’s worth in the modern era by how much his collective transfer value is, andTorreswas bought by multiple clubs for fees in excess of 100 million euros.
Liverpoolreaped the rewards of signing the Spaniard at his peak, as he netted 81 goals in 142 games, and it wasChelseawho then brought him to London for what was then aPremier Leaguerecord fee.
It would be fair to say that his spell withChelseawasn’t the best moment of his career, and perhaps the forward would make a different decision looking back, yet he did finally win theChampions Leaguewith the Blues, scoring the decisive goal in the semi-final againstBarcelona.
Nobody could suggest that during his time withLos Colchonerosthat he didn’t give the club everything, and after a disappointing loan spell withAC Milan, the opportunity came for the prodigal son to return home.
Torreswas given the welcome fit for a king in the Spanish capital and his love for his club can’t be questioned.
So desperate was he to helpAtleticowin theChampions League, that he simply played when he was required, he never fussed about being left on the bench.
Whilst European success would elude him at the very highest level with the Spanish club, he did achieve something that had looked impossible during his first spell.
In his last game forAtletico Madrid, he lifted theEuropa League trophy, finally tasting success with his club.
It’s somewhat fitting that it will beIniesta‘sVissel Kobewill be the final opposition forTorres, with the Spanish midfielder having been his international teammate for so many years.