In appearance number 403 for Atletico Madrid, Fernando Torres was able to feel the sensation of finally lifting a major trophy with his boyhood club.
Torres only came on for the last couple of minutes against the French side on Wednesday, proving that his coach doesn’t do sentiment.
“I’ve never given him anything,” Simeone said to reporters in his post-match press conference.
“For Fernando, it’s a dream come true [winning the Europa League], I hope the crowd explodes on Sunday, he’s a fantastic kid, everything he’s achieved has been earned by him.”
Ahead of leaving Los Rojiblancos in the summer, the veteran forward knew Wednesday night represented his final chance to gain a European winners’ medal as a player with the team he made his senior debut for way back in 2001.
Between that Segunda Division substitute outing against Leganes and his departure to Liverpool just over six years later, Torres wasn’t able to lift a major trophy.
With the Spaniard trying his luck in England, Atletico secured a duo of Europa League crowns alongside success in the Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and Supercopa de Espana.
Then Torres returned, his comeback in January 2015 leading him to the glory of a Champions League victory 18 months later. But it wasn’t to be, Atleti losing on penalties to rivals Real Madrid.
Following that, the club had failed to come so close to a trophy as this Europa League clash with Marseille, a win secured with ease by a 3-0 scoreline.
However the sealing moment for Torres didn’t come until two minutes from time, when he was introduced off the bench to take part in the perfect farewell before his final appearance in the league closer against Eibar on the weekend.
For a combined decade of service, few deserved their medal as much as El Nino.