Former Spain World Cup winner Fernando Torres, who has signed for Japanese side Sagan Tosu, said Sunday he will do his best to lead the team to victory in the J.League.
The former Liverpool, Chelsea and Spain striker, who left Atletico Madrid this summer after returning to his boyhood club in 2015, will wear the number nine shirt for Sagan.
“I’m going to give 100 percent. I’ll always work hard,” the 34-year-old Torres told reporters in Tokyo. “I want to help my team win, which is the most important thing.”
Torres said he had received many offers but chose Sagan as they were the first one that showed “true interest.”
He also added that playing at Sagan will be a “challenge” from both a football and cultural point of view.
Torres’s transfer to Sagan comes after fellow Spaniard Andres Iniesta signed for J.League rivals Vissel Kobe before the World Cup.
Iniesta’s move arguably represented Japanese football’s biggest transfer coup, with many top players instead now moving to cash-rich Chinese clubs in the twilight of their careers.
It also came as a timely boost to the J.League, which used to attract luminaries such as Brazilian great Zico and former England star Gary Lineker when it began in 1993 but has struggled to get marquee players in recent years.
Sagan, based on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, currently languishes second from bottom of the J.League top flight.
Club president Minoru Takehara who also joined the press conference said the club “fell in love” with Torres.
“We’re happy. I think our players will be able to improve the quality (of their play) and their motivation, and that will lead to good results,” he said.
A World Cup and European championship winner with Spain, Torres made his final appearance for Atletico as a late substitute in Madrid’s Europa League final win over Marseille.
The Spaniard scored 126 goals in 314 matches in an eight-year spell in England, his best years coming at Liverpool where he netted 81 times in 142 games to become an Anfield hero.