Can Torres be regarded as a Premier League great?
Fernando Torres brought his playing career to an end on Friday, but where does he rank as one of best strikers in Premier League history?
The former Spain international won a number of major honours during his 18-year playing career, including a World Cup and two European Championships with his country, while he also represented a number of Europe’s top clubs.
However, the final match of the 35-year-old’s career did not exactly go to plan as his Sagan Tosu side were beaten 6-1 in their J-League clash with Vissel Kobe.
— Ｊリーグ (@J_League) August 23, 2019
Indeed, Torres’ two-season stay in Japan is not one that will necessarily live long in the memory, as it is fair to say he was past his best by the time he headed to the Far East, but, at his pomp, he was one of the deadliest strikers in Europe.
Torres will be most greatly remembered for his association with boyhood club Atletico Madrid, where he enjoyed two successful spells and he is currently the sixth-highest goalscorer in the club’s history.
The forward will most certainly go down as an Atleti legend, but arguably the best spell of his career came during his time with Liverpool between 2007 and 2011, where he scored 81 goals in 142 appearances.
Torres was adored by Reds supporters and was part of a team under Rafael Benitez that also included the likes of Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso and regularly challenged for the Premier League title.
However, Torres perhaps somewhat tarnished his reputation at Anfield by joining Chelsea for a reported £50million midway through the 2010-11 season and his career rather stalled during his time at Stamford Bridge, even if he did win the Champions League with the club.
In total, Torres scored 85 goals and provided 29 assists in 212 Premier League appearances and he is the leading Spanish goalscorer in the history of the competition.
On his day, Torres was certainly one of the most prolific forwards in the Premier League and perhaps if he had stuck with Liverpool he could have been regarded as an all-time great, but his relative failure at Chelsea means he cannot fall into that category.
The fact that Torres only scored more than 20 Premier League goals in a season once – doing so when he hit 24 during his first campaign with Liverpool – also shows he perhaps is not quite one of the best forwards to grace the English game.
It is unlikely that will concern Torres too much, however, as he will be content with a career that saw him score over 300 goals, including the winner for Spain against Germany in the final of Euro 2008.