This time it really was the end for The Kid, taking his final bow with Atlético on an emotional evening at the Wanda
Defeat hit hard and so did the coach, apportioning blame and pointing the finger; they had let everyone down, he said. It was 2001, Spain had been knocked out of the U17 World Cup, and during the flight home Fernando Torres and Andrés Iniesta, close friends since they had met at 14, decided to put their feelings into words. As they sat on the plane, they wrote a letter outlining everything that had gone wrong. They never posted it but the writing helped and when they touched down back at Barajas airport they swapped shirts, dedicating them to each other. On the shirt Fernando handed to Andrés, it read: “One day you and me will win the World Cup together.”
Nine years later, they did. Eight years after that, they bade farewell together. Six hundred kilometres apart but on the same day – the kids, fathers now, who scored the two most important goals in Spain’s history, in Vienna in 2008 and Johannesburg in 2010, played their last games at their clubs. Their paths have not been the same, but their departures shared more than just a date and because there are two of them, friends, team-mates and popular idols, because they leave the country, the loss feels more significant still.
Written by Sid Lowe
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2018/may/21/fernando-torres-takes-his-leave-as-atletico-madrids-historic-memory under the title “
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