After announcing his retirement from football, Fernando Torres leaves behind a remarkable career brimming with honours, both collective and individual.
The Spanish forward was a Champions League, FA Cup and two-time Europa League winner at club level, and World Cup and two-time European Championship winner at international level.
Spain’s third highest international goal scorer, Torres scored the winning goal in the Euro 2008 final and won the Golden Boot for highest goalscorer at Euro 2012, highlighting the impact he had on Spain’s success.
Over the years, he’s played with some of the game’s greatest players – here’s his best XI…
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Iker Casillas (GK) – In his prime, Casillas was renowned for his incredible agility and cat-like reflexes. ‘The Saint’ was Torres’ captain for the Spain national team, and was an influential leader as they won three major international tournaments on the bounce.
Sergio Ramos (RB) – Although Ramos has cemented himself as one of the best central defenders of the past decade, he in fact began his career at right back, where he was deployed during Euro 2008. Tenacious in everything he does, Ramos is a born winner.
Gerard Pique (CB) – Calm and composed both in and out of possession, Pique is a modern day great, with over 400 appearances for Barcelona and Spain sides which have – for large stretches – dominated in the world of football.
John Terry (CB) – Included in the FIFPro World XI for five consecutive seasons from 2005 to 2009, Terry is considered one of the greatest defenders of his generation. The former Chelsea captain was known for his leadership skills, his heading ability and his reading of the game, while capable of popping up with a goal from a set piece too.
Ashley Cole (LB) – Cole was, for many years, widely considered the best left back in the world, an all-rounder who was as capable defensively as he was overlapping forward. A key member of the Chelsea side which won the Champions League in 2012 alongside Torres.
Xabi Alonso (DM) – A colleague of Torres both for Spain and for Liverpool, Alonso was as accurate from 50 yards as he was from five. A cool head in front of the back four, Alonso was a mainstay for Spain during his peak years – no easy feat, considering the level of talent in the squad.
Steven Gerrard (CM) – Omitting Gerrard from this XI would have been blasphemous considering the telepathic understanding he had with Torres during the Spaniard’s spell on Merseyside. An all-round midfielder who would regularly pick out El Niño’s runs, Torres and Gerrard’s partnership was a joy to watch.
Xavi (CM) – Viewed as the embodiment of the ‘tiki-taka’ passing style of play, Xavi was a generational talent who amassed a haul of trophies and awards. With a low centre of gravity and a quick-thinking football brain, Xavi rarely lost possession of the ball – ever.
Andres Iniesta (CM) – A similar and equally breathtaking talent, Iniesta’s guile and grace, coupled with his movement and dribbling, was mesmeric at times. His winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final against the Netherlands provided Torres with one of his greatest achievements.
Didier Drogba (ST) – Although the two never fully gelled on the pitch, it’s difficult to ignore Drogba when considering the best players that Torres has played with. A scorer in four FA Cup finals, as well as the talisman behind Chelsea’s Champions League final triumph over Bayern Munich with his late headed equaliser, Drogba was the ultimate big game player.
David Villa (ST) – With 59 goals in 98 games for Spain, Villa is his countries all-time top goalscorer. A deadly finisher with both feet, combined with rapid acceleration and precise movement, Villa was one of the greatest goal scorers of his era.