Diego Simeone wants Fernando Torres at Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has paid tribute to ‘football legend’ Fernando Torres following the striker’s retirement.

The veteran striker had been most recently playing with Sagan Tosu in Japan's J1 League while his 18-year career saw two spells at Atleti alongside stints at Liverpool, Chelsea and Milan.

Torres played a huge part in La Roja’s most successful side – netting in the finals of both the European Championships in 2008 and 2012 alongside winning the 2010 World Cup.

“Fernando is a very intelligent boy and an absolute legend in football,” Simeone told reporters at the weekend, when asked about his former striker who, during his playing days, captained the Argentine.

“He has earned this thanks to his commitment, his hard work and his respect to others because wherever he was in his career, he had a very classy image.

“This was not just as a footballer but as a person and I guess it will take him a while to get prepared for the new place he decides to be, as he will want to be diligent with the responsibilities he has.

“Hopefully this will not take so long, so that we can work together once again (at Atletico).”

During his stint in the Far East, he scored six goals in the 39 games in which he featured.

His final game for Los Rojiblancos was as a 90th-minute substitute in the 2018 Europa League final defeat of Marseille and he netted 121 goals in 350 games for the club.

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