âìì°ñ] Torres and Iniesta shake hands.
# lifelong friends
'I miss you already' - Iniesta pens emotional farewell letter to Torres as Spain legend retires
The pair played on opposing teams in the J-League today, with ‘El Nino’ making his final-ever appearance.

ANDRES INIESTA HAS written an emotional farewell message to long-term international team-mate Fernando Torres, who played the final match of his professional career on Friday.

The 35-year-old, now at Japanese side Sagan Tosu, came up against a Vissel Kobe team featuring Iniesta and old strike partner David Villa in the final game of an 18-year career which has seen him lift the World Cup, European Championship, Champions League and Europa League.

Vissel Kobe won 6-1, with Iniesta on the scoresheet. 

With only two months between their birthdays, Torres and Iniesta had played together for Spain since youth level, and it was the former who found Cesc Fabregas to play in Iniesta for the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final.

Imago 20100711 Imago / PA Images Iniesta lifts the World Cup in 2010, with Torres (left) next to him. Imago / PA Images / PA Images

In a letter published in El Mundo, Iniesta wrote: “It’s very strange, I’d say beautifully strange. Here we both are, about to play your last game as a professional.

“I still have some left. Here we are, on the other side of the world. It’s as if life, funny as she is, had brought us all the way to Japan to say goodbye.

“Football brought us together more than 20 years ago, when we were children. Well, you will always be El Nino. And it will never separate us. We met when we had utopian dreams. That goal you scored us at the U16 European Championship with the national team in England.

I’ll never forget the gesture you made to dedicate that goal to me. I saw it on TV because I had to go home with an injury.”

After making his professional debut for Atletico Madrid in 2001, Torres went on to represent Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan and Sagan Tosu, as well as making more than 100 appearances for Spain.

With more than 250 club career goals to his name, he signed off with his final game in the J-League.

Japan Soccer Torres âìì°ñ] Marking each other during the game. âìì°ñ]

Iniesta also recalled a gesture made by Torres when the pair were young. The striker wrote “Someday, you and I will win the World Cup together” on a Spain shirt after flopping at the U17 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.

“We began away from spotlights and cameras until we came to share thousands of experiences before winning a World Cup for our country.

When we meet in Spain, I’ll show you that shirt, that treasure that nobody else discovered. Although, it is true, there is no greater treasure than your friendship, Fernando.

“It’s been a wonderful journey. It has taken us to every corner of the world. And look where we are today. In Tosu, you and I playing a football match. One more. But it’s not just another one, it’s your last game, who knew?

“You face David Villa and I. Then you’ll go home. Yours are waiting for you, although you have to know that the ball will be sadder today than yesterday. “Enjoy everything that comes to you now and be happy. But how strange, Fernando. You haven’t left yet and I miss you already.”

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