Torres prepares to bid farewell to soccer with final match against Iniesta
Spanish soccer player Fernando Torres of Japanese club Sagan Tosu pauses as he announces his retirement from professional soccer during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, 23 June 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
Spanish soccer player Fernando Torres of Japanese club Sagan Tosu leaves the podium after announcing his retirement from professional soccer during a press conference in Tokyo, Japan, 23 June 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA
Spanish soccer player Fernando Torres attends the J-League Kickoff Conference in Tokyo, Japan, 14 February 2019. EPA-EFE FILE/FRANCK ROBICHON
Tokyo, Aug 22 (efe-epa).- Spanish forward Fernando Torres is set to play his last ever professional match on Friday in a Japanese first division clash for Sagan Tasu against Vissel Kobe, a team which features fellow former Spain internationals Andres Iniesta and David Villa.
The former Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea striker announced in June that he would be hanging up his boots after Friday's J-League clash, concluding an illustrious 18-year career which saw him bag two European titles and a World Cup with the national team, a Champions League title with Chelsea and a Europa League win with Atletico Madrid.
Torres, 35, arrived to Sagan Tosu in July 2018 after ending his contract with Atletico and decided to retire in August despite having a contract until December, saying he was not able to perform according to the high standards he has set for himself.
The player, who enjoys a considerable following in Japan despite not performing as well as he or others might have hoped, will be given a farewell by fans at an event at Tosu's stadium after the match.
Torres will spend his last moments as a professional on the field in the company of his former Spain teammates Iniesta and Villa, who play for Vissel Kobe.
Iniesta, who came to the Japanese league a few months before Torres and is a close friend, told journalists on Wednesday that Torres had been a leading figure in the sport.
While the game will be somewhat of a farewell for Torres, the stakes are very high for both teams.
The clubs are fighting to avoid relegation, with 10 matches left for each team after Friday.
With 24 points, Sagan Tosu is in 16th out of the total 18 teams in the points table - with the bottom two sides at the end of the season getting relegated - while Vissel is one spot higher, with two more points.
Torres has played 38 matches with the Japanese club, scoring seven goals, the last of which came on Aug. 14 against Kashiwa Reysol to help Sagan move on to the fourth round of the Emperor's Cup.
The Fuenlabrada native, who had a spell at AC Milan, has announced that he would continue to be associated with the Japanese team after his retirement.