Sagan Tosu new boy Fernando Torres assures ‘I’ve had the idea of playing in Japan for a long time’ but admits ‘it’s good to have Andres Iniesta nearby’.
Torres was officially unveiled as a Sagan player on Saturday after his Atletico Madrid contract expired, although his new club find themselves second from bottom in the J1 League.
“I’ve had the idea of playing in Japan in my head for a long time, so I’m glad to be here,” began the No 9.
“I’ve always received expressions of affection from the Japanese people, and coming to play here was something that I had in my head for a long time.
“I was impressed by the atmosphere when I played against Sagan Tosu [in 2015]. I hope I’ll be here for many years.
“My main objective in the short term is to take the team out of the situation they’re in. For me it’s not only a footballing challenge but also a cultural one.
“I received many offers from many different clubs, but Sagan Tosu were one of the first teams who showed interest in me.
“My family and I thought Japan were the best destination. I’m looking forward to starting training with them tomorrow;
“If everything goes well I can play a few minutes next week, but it’s a decision that the Coach will have to make.
Torres’ move comes after Iniesta swapped Barcelona for Vissel Kobe, and the 34-year-old was looking forward to reuniting with his fellow Spaniard in Japan.
“Iniesta? Andres is a very good friend of mine. We’ve played together since we were 15 years old, he added.
“We both said goodbye on the same day and won trophies last season, and we both decided to come to Japan, a country that has shown us great affection and respect.
“I’m looking forward to playing against him and I wish him all the best, but I hope it goes even better for us!
“It’s good to have close friends nearby. We have a similar way of thinking. For both of us, family is important and having friends in the same country is also important.”