Tokyo, Aug 23 (IANS) Spanish forward Fernando Torres is all set to play the last match of his professional career on Friday in a Japanese first division clash for Sagan Tasu against Vissel Kobe, which feature his former Spain teammates Andres Iniesta and David Villa.
The former Atletico Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea striker had announced in June that he would hang his boots after Friday’s J-League clash, concluding an illustrious 18-year career which saw him win one World Cup and two European titles with the national team, one Champions League crown with Chelsea and one Europa League title with Atletico Madrid.
Torres, 35, arrived at Sagan Tosu in July 2018 after ending his contract with Atletico Madrid 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, Efe news reported.
The striker, who enjoys a considerable following in Japan despite not performing as per expectations, will be given a farewell by the fans 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 has been a leading figure in the sport.
While the game will be a farewell for Torres, the stakes are very high for both teams.
Both clubs are fighting to avoid relegation, with 10 matches left for each team after Friday.
With 24 points, Sagan Tosu is placed 16th out of 18 teams in the points table, while Vissel is one spot higher with two more points. The bottom two sides at the end of the season get relegated.
Torres has played 38 matches with the Japanese club, scoring seven goals, the last of which came on August 14 against Kashiwa Reysol, helping Sagan move to the fourth round of the Emperor’s Cup.
A native of Fuenlabrada who also had a short spell at AC Milan, Torres has announced that he would continue to be associated with the Japanese team after his retirement.