AAP Soccer

Retiring Torres rates Gerrard his top ally

By AAP Newswire

Fernando Torres has singled out former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard as the best player he has played with as he announced he will hang up his boots in August.

The former Reds and Chelsea striker, who has been playing in Japan for Sagan Tosu since leaving Atletico Madrid last year, held a press conference in Tokyo to explain his decision to retire from the game after an 18-year career.

The 35-year-old said he wanted to leave football with a "clear conscience" and before he felt he could not carry on mentally or physically in the game he loves.

"I have a high demand for myself," he said.

"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."

Asked who had made the biggest impression during his career, the former Spain international, who played at Anfield between 2007-2011, did not hesitate to name his former captain.

"I always say the best player I played with is Steven Gerrard," he said.

"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."

Torres revealed he will play his last game on August 23 against Vissel Kobe, saying playing against friends Andres Iniesta and David Villa seemed a fitting end.

"To say goodbye to football next to my dear friend Iniesta is something I could never imagine, and Japan is going to make it possible," he said.

"Also there will be my friend David Villa, with who I probably share the best moments in Spanish football history...

"I tried to find an iconic moment to play my final game and I think that is the perfect timing."

Torres also spoke of his future plans and his desire to return to his hometown club Atletico in some capacity.

"Atletico Madrid is my life, so probably we will connect some way in the future but not immediately," he said.