World-famous striker Fernando Torres played for Sagan Tosu for a year. He arrived in Japan in the summer of 2018, after scoring an impressive number of goals that helped his teams to win two UEFA European Championships, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and a UEFA Champions League.
In Europe, he often beat defenders with his quick movements, but the attribute that was most beneficial for him in Japan was his aerial strength. In fact, four out of his five goals came from headers. Taking advantage of his height and his impressive leap, Torres often overwhelmed the J.League defenders.
However, his speed was not what it used to be in his prime. In his mid-30s, he could seldom outrun opponents. Accordingly, his excellent finishing, that brought his teams several titles in the past, was rarely seen in Japan.
Even when he was not able to score goals, the Spanish striker always supported the team by taking advantage of his experience to compensate for lesser physicality, and still worked hard as a target man. He also wore the captain’s armband in many games and shared his leadership with the team. He scored five goals in 35 appearances in his twelve months in Japan. It was surely less than what the fans expected, but he still had huge, positive influence on Sagan Tosu.
He announced his retirement in the summer of 2019, and his last match was played versus Vissel Kobe. In front of his countryman Andrés Iniesta, with whom he won many titles, Torres ended a superb career that lasted almost 20 years.