(REUTERS) - Spain's World Cup-winning striker Fernando Torres announced his retirement from football on Friday (June 21), bringing an end to a glittering 18-year career.
The 35-year-old , who scored more than 100 goals across two spells at his boyhood club Atletico Madrid, also played for English Premier League sides Liverpool and Chelsea and Italian Serie A giants AC Milan.
He left Atletico to join Japan's Sagan Tosu in July 2018 but has struggled to hit the heights of his best days at Atletico and Liverpool at the J-League side.
"After 18 exciting years, the time has come to put an end to my football career," the 35-year-old wrote on Twitter, adding that he would hold a news conference in Japan on Sunday to explain his decision.
Torres made his Spain debut in 2003 and scored the winning goal in the 2008 European Championship final against Germany, before helping his country win their first World Cup in 2010.
He was the top scorer at Euro 2012 as Spain successfully defended their title and scored 38 goals in 110 appearances for his country in total, making him Spain's third-highest goalscorer behind David Villa (59) and Raul (44).
Torres enjoyed his most prolific spell at Liverpool between 2007 and 2011, netting 81 goals in 142 games across all competitions.
He moved to Chelsea from the Reds for a then British record fee of £50 million (S$86 million), and won the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League with the London club.