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Torres scores twice in final game with Atletico Madrid

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

By TALES AZZONI

AP Sports Writer

MADRID (AP) Fernando Torres enjoyed a great ending to his storied career with Atletico Madrid.

Torres bid farewell to his boyhood club Atletico Madrid by scoring twice in the team's 2-2 draw against Eibar in the final round of the Spanish league on Sunday.

A few days after lifting his first major trophy with the club in the Europa League, the veteran striker got to celebrate his final two goals.

The 34-year-old Torres scored into an open net after a breakaway just before halftime, then got past two defenders before sending the ball beyond the goalkeeper in the 60th minute, both times igniting wild celebrations at Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.

Torres slid on his knees toward the crowd on the sidelines and kissed the team's badge after the first goal. He jumped over the advertisement boards and ran toward the stands to embrace fans after the second.

Torres, who was given the captaincy on Sunday, reached 129 goals in 404 appearances with Atletico, which had already secured second place. Before the game, Atletico fans displayed a huge banner reading "From Kid to Legend." The players' jerseys also carried a logo with the same words.

There was also a ceremony in Torres' honor after the match, when Torres gave an emotional speech before going on a victory lap along with his relatives and teammates.

"I have to thank my grandpa, who gave me the greatest gift anyone can give a kid, which was to make me an Atletico fan," Torres said, crying profusely. "It was an honor to be able to wear this jersey."

Nicknamed "The Kid," Torres always declared his affection for the team which he joined at age 11. He had publicly said he hoped to end his career with the club, but he decided to leave because he wasn't expected to remain in Diego Simeone's plans for next season.

This was Torres' second stint with Atletico after thriving with the club from 2001-07. He then played for Liverpool and Chelsea, where he won Champions League and Europa League titles. He returned to Atletico in 2015 after a brief stint with AC Milan.

Torres, who won a World Cup and two European Championships with Spain, still hasn't said where he will play next season, although local media said it could be in Chinese soccer.

Eibar got its goals with Kike Garcia in the 35th and Ruben Pena in the 70th.

Atletico, which hadn't been second in the league since winning the title in 2014, played a man down from the 63rd as defender Lucas Hernandez was sent off.

Fourth-place Valencia ended its impressive season with a 2-1 win over Clarence Seedorf's Deportivo La Coruna.

It was Valencia's 22nd win of the season, the same as third-place Real Madrid. Valencia had three more losses, though, and finished three points behind Madrid.

Already relegated Deportivo ended 18th in the 20-team standings with 29 points from 38 matches. It lost eight of the 16 matches it played since Seedorf took over in February.

The former Dutch midfielder said he failed "in terms of results" but felt he added positive things to Deportivo during his stint as coach. He hinted it will be up to the club to decide if he remains for next season.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

Updated May 20, 2018

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