Fernando Torres scored his hundredth goal for Atletico Madrid as the club overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat Eibar 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday. It was an important goal for a player who began his career at Atletico and it was an important three points for Atleti, who now sit just three points behind table-toppers Barcelona.
It had been five months and 19 matches since Torres netted number 99, and by the time he broke into triple digits, Atletico had already all but sealed Saturday’s points. But it was no less an auspicious occasion as the former Liverpool striker ran onto a well-served cross from Luciano Vietto and tapped the ball into an empty net.
Torres, who is now 31, is out of contract in June and there are no indications the club will renew, which is unfortunate seeing as the player has stated his wish to end his career at the club he began it.
“It is an honor to score for this club,” Torres told Canal Plus after the match. “The only future is the next game. And hopefully finishing the season with a trophy. When I do retire I’ll be back here as a fan.”
It looked like things were headed in an entirely different direction on Saturday after Eibar defender Keko capitalized on a mistake from Atletico defender Saul Niguez to put the visitors ahead.
However Atleti bounced back just 10 minutes into the second half as Jose Gimenez equalized and Niguez atoned for his earlier mistake by putting them ahead a few minutes later.
Torres’ goal, which came in the 90th minute, was merely the icing on the cake for Diego Simeone’s team. But it was a nice bit of icing indeed as after the final whistle, Torres sought out Manuel Brinas, the scout who brought him to Atletico as a 10-year-old, and presented him his jersey as a souvenir.
Atleti will look to keep pace with Barcelona and stay one step ahead of a surging Real Madrid as they make the short trip to the Coliseum Alfonso Perez to face Getafe this weekend.