It happens to all of our talismanic players. The time comes for them to hang up their boots, make a tearful press conference, and announce to the world that their bodies aren’t up to snuff anymore and it is time for a long rest. And while he hasn’t played for Liverpool for a long time, it can still come with a mixed bag of emotions when it comes to a player like Fernando Torres.
Nando is the reason why many of us, like our AJ, became fans of the club. Following him from the heights of the Spanish National Team to our Liverpool in transition, he became many fans’ first love and first heartbreak. I, personally, missed out on the highest of El Niño’s highs, only registering his departure as devastation for my friends that were more invested in the club than I was - me, a baby fan of only a few months. The mixed bag comes from a lot of things — the way he forced himself out to a rival with the club in transition, his performances over the years, all of it.
And now, the time has come for our Nando to hang up his boots. Not without some parting words for his time at Liverpool, though, and his time being fed shots by our former captain, Steven Gerrard (who isn’t without his own post-departure drama).
“I always say the best player I played with is Steven Gerrard,” Torres said in his press conference. “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.
“It was an amazing three-and-a-half years playing alongside Steven and I would love to go back to those days – even for one minute.”
Now, of course, the argument is that Torres chose to leave Gerrard behind and that’s on him. He could’ve stayed and continued to play with Gerrard and who knows what that team would’ve become — especially knowing of the upcoming signing of Luis Suarez. The other side of the argument is that potentially the club was trying to see Torres out, but you know, we’ll never know the full story.
In the press conference Torres confirmed that his playing career will come to an end in August, with the final game of his current team Sagan Tosu, in the Japanese league. Torres explained his decision, a refrain pretty popular with retiring players that maybe some other players should’ve adhered to before moving to countries and leagues they didn’t understand.
“I have a high demand for myself,” said Torres.
“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.”
There’s still some time ahead before that comes, as August is about a month and a half away, so the farewell train has begun and hopefully this is the first good lesson he’s learned from his friends in their retirement. Do it early before you break down. Don’t make any stupid decisions like signing a girlfriend abuser when you become a manager. Things like that.