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Fernando Torres hails Steven Gerrard as the best player he's ever played with, as he explains his decision to retire

460   //    23 Jun 2019, 17:43 IST

Liverpool v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League
Liverpool v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League

What's the story?

Spanish striker Fernando Torres had announced his retirement from competitive football on Friday via Twitter, bringing an end to his illustrious career spanning over 18 years and across four different leagues.

In a follow up to his shock announcement, he was a part of the press conference earlier today in Japan, where he currently plays for the J1 league side Sagan Tosu.

The motive of the conference was to let his fans know what made him draw the curtains over a fine footballing journey.

In case you didn't know...

Torres had won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, which were complemented by two EURO triumphs.

Interestingly, despite being a prolific scorer, he never won the top scorer's prize with any of his clubs and also failed to lift the league titles with them either.

Also see : Womens World Cup Bracket, Gold Cup Standings, Copa America Standings.

The heart of the matter

El Nino, as he is fondly referred to, is 35 years old now and plying his trade in the Japanese top-flight with Sagan Tosu, following notable spells with European bigwigs like Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.

Throughout his career, he's had the honour to play with some of the finest players of all time, being part of Spain's golden generation and shared the pitch with the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, David Villa, but when it came down to it he singled out former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard as the best player he's ever had the chance to play with.

Talking at the press conference in Tokyo, he said: (Via Sportstar):

'I always say the best player I played with is Steven Gerrard."
'I found he was the player who completed my game. I think my level got into a different dimension when I was on the pitch with him."

He got visibly emotional in front of the press as he explained his decision to hang his boots, claiming that he wanted to retire with a clear conscience and that he's reached a point in his career where soon his body won't support his game anymore. He continued:

"I have a high demand for myself, I've always wanted to be honest and to perform at the level I think I should and I think the time I will not be able to perform at the level I ask for myself is not far away and I don't want to arrive at the time that I am going on the pitch and I'm not enjoying it."
I want to put an end before that happens. Knowing my body and listening to my body, I think especially mentally that time is not far away and I want to finish my career in a good way before that happens."

What's next?

Torres' last professional match will be on August 23rd against Iniesta and Villa's Vissel Kobe. He has claimed that he will be back at his boyhood club Atletico Madrid in some role.