Fernando Torres' career has taken him to England and Italy and back to Spain but now the forward is off to the Far East to join Japanese side Saga Tosu. It's a brand new challenge for the 34-year-old - which is exactly what he wanted, as he explained to the media after confirming his move to the J1 League side this afternoon.
Japan welcomes Torres and Iniesta
Knowledge of the Japanese league: “Practically everything we know about the Japanese league is based on what we've seen of the club who have played at the Club World Cup. Since I heard that a Japanese club was interested in me, I've had some time to find out a bit more about the competition, study what it's about and its characteristics... Culturally, it is so different that it is very difficult for me to even begin to think about what I will find without experiencing it first hand - all I know is from the things I've read. It's a very closely-contested league. I'll have my great friend Andrés (Iniesta, who will be playing for Vissel Kobe), and it will also be a challenge. As I'm sure you know, I'll be going there to give 100% and do everything I can to aid the team. Sagan are quite a small club, from a district which is trying to expand and I love that - because it's something I have tried to do myself all of my life”.
Saga Tosu: a modest club in expansion
Similarities with Atleti: “There are a club which not everybody supports - they are carving out a niche of their own. I've been watching their games. Their coach is European, he's Italian, he's given me an idea of what I can bring to the team. I'm just dying to get started and playing with them; I'll be joining up with the squad next week”.
Is there a chance you'll come back? “If there is something I've learned over the years is that you can never look to far ahead into the future. I am hoping to be in Japan for a fairly long while to be able to contribute to the project and the work being done at the club. Of course, how long I'll be in Japan will be determined by how well I perform. I still feel strong, my legs haven't gone yet. I decided against staying in Europe because really, I've done everything I set out to achieve in Europe. Time will tell how long I am in Japan, how well I play and what I achieve there”.
Flying out to Japan: “I'll be flying out there in the next few days. The transfer market opens on 15th and until then, I can't do anything. The first home game is on the 22nd and I hope to make my debut then”.
Other offers: “There were clubs in France, Germany, and I had one offer from a Spanish club - but that possibility didn't even enter my head. Now it's all over here, I needed a chance - something completely different. There was no way I was going to stay in Europe”.
My sweet sweet home
Atlético return to work tomorrow, will it feel a bit strange waking up but not having to go to the training ground? “I know every single person at the Cerro del Espino. I've been going there most of my life. But I've always been a person who is able to make brave decisions. It's going to feel a bit strange not doing the things I've always done, the every day routine at the Cerro, but the nice thing about home is that it's always there whenever you want to come back”.
- Sagan Tosu