It was the perfect parting gift on an emotional day at the Wanda Metropolitano. Fernando Torres, in his final match for Atletico Madrid, netted twice in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Eibar.
This was the final result in a season which saw Diego Simeone’s side secure second spot ahead of city rivals Real Madrid – only the second time they have finished above Los Blancos this century, with the other being their 2014 title triumph. It also arrived four days after Torres lifted his first piece of silverware with Atleti as they won the Europa League title.
34-year-old Torres, who is in his second spell at Los Rojiblancos after playing for Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan, is out of contract at the end of the season and has confirmed he will be leaving for pastures new. He has increasingly become a bit part figure at the club, now just overshadowed by the brilliance of Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa but also the talent of Kevin Gameiro and Angel Correa.
Earlier this month, the former Spain international – who has been promised a non-playing position within the club following his retirement – told reporters: “When I joined Atletico, I was 10 years old and it became my home. I was lucky enough to make my debut here, to play a lot of matches, to score a lot of goals and it was still my home.
“You can have many houses but you can only have one home and that’s how I have always felt about the situation. When I had the opportunity to come back I have been able to enjoy Atleti as I always dreamt – a champion who fights for every championship against the big powerful ones.
“This will always be my home.”
Rumours have plagued the striker all season that he had personally fallen out with boss Simeone, whom he ironically used to captain in his first stint with his boyhood club. Many thought Torres would have departed last summer but the timing of announcing his departure, in early April, gave both player and club sufficient time to organise the sufficient and deserved send-off.
Of course, his playing career has suffered a dramatic downturn in the second half of his playing career but it should not be forgotten just how extraordinarily talented the hitman was. He netted 91 goals in his first Atleti spell before scoring a further 81 in just 142 appearances for Liverpool. His spells at Chelsea and Milan were less glamorous yet he still played a massive role in the London club’s first ever Champions League title.
Torres is synonymous with Atletico and it was fitting that he finally won his first piece of silverware with the club before rekindling his glory days with two goals on his final appearance. He now looks set for a move to MLS in the United States, but he will stay in the hearts of Atleti fans forever.
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