Fernando Torre´s career is one of the most mediatic stories in football.Spanish hero at the 2008 Eurocup, World Champion in 2010, golden boot in the 2012 Eurocup and Confederations… but just like “Petón” says (he is one of his managers), “Torres is a multiple clubs´ man but he only loves one team”, and that team is Atlético de Madrid.
“Torres is a multiple clubs´ man but he only loves one team”
First stage at Atlético: from a kid to a man
Fernando Torres was just a kid when he made the tryouts for Atlético, his grandfather´s beloved team. He went from playing at his school playground to get into the academy through a partnership with another club, “Rayo 13”. “El niño” has already taken his first step the beginning of a legend. Torres keeps climbing up in his career until he makes his debut with the Spanish National Team under-16, which creates a lot of expectation among the crowd in his first game at El Calderón.
Just as he mentions, he felt the fans support from the first minute, as they knew of his love to Atlético. By the time of his debut (2000-2002) Atlético were playing in the second division, and even though they did not went up in Fernando Torres´first season, he decided to stay. Legendary coach Luis Aragonés joins directs the team next season and this time they pull it off. The return to the elite comes with Luis choosing Fernando Torres as his starting forward at the same time as he becomes into one of the youngest captains in the club´s history.
Fernando Torres starts to get the spotlights on him due to his new role, as well as offers, including Real Madrid´s: “I have never talked to them. It is a matter of values”.
“I have never talked to them. It is a matter of values”
However, once Atlético accomplishes the promotion to the first division, he realizes that his individual growth goes farther than the team´s. His ambition makes him to sign for another club in order to win titles. The Reds welcome him gladly.
Liverpool: the consecration
The kid became the most expensive transfer for a Spanish player ever when he arrived at the Beatles city, and he did not need too much time to prove the reason for his price. He did not hesitate to ask for number 9, a historical number at the club. Anfield turned into his new temple and Liverpool into his home. Adaptation was fast and easy, probably because of the similarities between Liverpool and Atlético.
Under Rafa Benítez as his new coach, he shared the looker room with some iconic players such as Xabi Alonso, Mascherano, Pepe Reina and Steven Gerard, his best ally. The English midfielder loves Fernando Torres: “He has been my best partner”.
“He has been my best partner”
Steven Gerard on playing with Torres.
2008 Eurocup: Vienna´s hero
Luis Aragonés becomes the new coach for the Spanish National Team and changes their mentality. He builds a winner team. The Torres-Villa duo gets consecrated and gives Spain a Eurocup 44 years later thanks to a goal in the final by “El Niño”. Spain reach the highest.
Reality check in Liverpool:
Fernando Torres is awarded as the third best player in the world after winning the Eurocup, behind Cristiano and Messi. Despite the individual records, he is unable to lift trophies at any club, which made him wonder what he left Atlético for.
Liverpool start to break down the squad due to the poor management by the Board of Directors. Moreover, Torres gets injured from his knee at the Europa League previous round before facing Atlético and only three months away from the South Africa World Cup. He is not sure if he could make his recovery on time.
2010 World Cup: the price to be a World Champion
With a very fast and uncertain recovery, Torres was called up for the World Cup. The defeat to Switzerland in the debut forces him to get on the pitch earlier than planned. Spain makes it through the group stage and Torres just resists physically. The risk will have the biggest reward. Spain win the World Cup thanks to the Iniesta´s goal in the final, but Torres ends the game just like he started: injured.
Something that really surprises us is his impressions on becoming a World Champion: “Was it worth it to risk that much, or would it have been better to resign on going to the World Cup and just recover properly to keep my best in my career, as it seemed like I still could get better at that moment? How far could I have gotten?” “Thinking about it deeply today, maybe it was not the smartest decision”. It is understandable that he reconsiders these actions now that he is retired, but there is nothing bigger than winning a World Cup for a footballer.
Chelsea: more shadows than lights
January 2011: Torres arrives at Stamford Bridge in the winter transfer market to try to finally lift some trophies. The difference is that now he is the one to not perform decently. On a team of stars and Russian money, feelings are meaningless. His huge scoring drought kills his confidence.
2012 Champions League is the only light at Chelsea, his biggest trophy in a club.
2012 Eurocup: vindication
His second Eurocup feels like fresh air for him. He returns with his beloved teammates and so goals come as well. Spain makes the three-peat and Torres is awarded with the Golden Boot, an achievement that he would repeat at the Confederations Cup a year later.
Milan as the door to return home
After his time at Stamford Bridge, Fernando starts to think about returning to Atlético, but he first has to move to another club. That club is the AC Milan, where he comes full of excitement, but this does not last too much as soon as he realizes that he is not an important player for the team: “Milan was almost a escape”, says Antonio Sanz, his adviser. “I know that I won´t be here too long”, says Torres.
Atlético: the symbol vs the player
Torres returns home. Calderón got packed the day of his presentation in front of the fans wearing number 19. “It is like a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean”, says Torres.
“It is like a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean”
Torres on returning to Atlético.
However, he does not shine as expected. Torres turns out to be more of a problem that a solution for Simeone.
Cholo explains what he came for: “We did not bring the idol of the people, we brought the footballer”. Despite the warn, Torres did not accept his role in the team and never understood the fact of not being a starter. Neither the player and the coach connected between each other, but at least Torres could win a title with the team of his heart.
“We did not bring the idol of the people, we brought the footballer”
Simeone on signing Torres.
Japan: the last stop of the journey
2018: after saying bye to Atlético by winning the Europa League, Fernando decides to follow Iniesta´s steps and he moves to Sagan Tosu from the Japanese league. “Football in Japan is an entertainment, not a competition”, says. A matured decision by the player, who has always looked to play for the best possible clubs and ends on a place where football is just a hobby. This poor ambition around him makes him to announce his retirement quickly.
“Football in Japan is an entertainment, not a competition”
Torres is a symbol, just like Casillas, Puyol, Iniesta and Villa. At Atlético, after Luis Aragonés passed away and Calderón got demolished, Cholo is the only current symbol, because “El Niño” is a legend, and legends never die.