Atlético Madrid legend Fernando Torres has revealed that he is to leave the LaLiga club at the end of the season.
The Atlético youth product, who is currently in his second spell with Los Rojiblancos, made the announcement during an appearance at a promotional event in Madrid on Monday afternoon.
"Maybe it's for the best," admits Atlético legend
"This will be my last season at the club," said Torres, who is out of contract in June. "I felt I should let the fans know, as they have given me so much love and affection."
The 34-year-old has made just three league starts under coach Diego Simeone this term, and said that his diminishing first-team opportunities at the Wanda Metropolitano are a major reason for his departure.
"It hasn't been an easy decision to make but, given the reality, the circumstances, maybe it's for the best," the striker admitted.
The "right time" to leave the club, says Torres
"I think it's the right time," he later added. "There's never an easy time to say goodbye, [but] you can all see the role I'm playing, which is very minor, so maybe it's time to step aside for others.
"I feel I still have something to offer as a footballer and I'm not playing here. I think that's key to me making this decision.
"It's very hard for me to say goodbye for a second time. My idea was always to hang up my boots here, but I don't want to do that like this. I feel physically and mentally strong enough to carry on playing for longer."
113 Atleti goals since debut 17 years ago
The former Spain international, a World Cup winner in 2010, has scored 113 goals in 330 appearances for Atlético since making his debut in 2001.
Capped 110 times by La Roja, he also played for Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan between 2007 and 2015, before rejoining his boyhood club.
Atlético to pay tribute to Torres on LaLiga final day
After the announcement, Atlético revealed plans to pay tribute to Torres on the final day of the LaLiga season, when they host Eibar. "Fernando Torres deserves the very best of goodbyes," said Los Colchoneros' president, Enrique Cerezo.
"Fernando is a legend of our club, and we've always said that the decision over his future would be down to him, because this is his home," Cerezo went on.
"If he has decided to continue his professional career elsewhere from next season, I can only thank him for everything that he has given to this club, which is a lot, and tell him that the door will always be open for him at Atlético Madrid when he decides to call time on his career as a footballer."