I never kissed the badge
Torres kills off romance, insisting 'Some kiss the badge, I just want to score'
Fernando Torres has not spoken to Kenny Dalglish since signing for Chelsea, but there is one nugget of advice from the Liverpool manager which rang true as he prepared for his first appearance as a £50million striker.
When Torres moved to Anfield, Dalglish told him not to kiss the badge on his shirt unless he really meant it.
Those who stood on the Kop would know the truth, explained the Scot. Three-and-a-half years later, as he braced himself for a debut against Liverpool, his assessment of modern football was as cool and clinical as his finishing.
Romance is dead. Why pretend otherwise?
I never kissed the Liverpool badge,' said Torres. 'Never. No. Kissed the badge? No. I never did. I never did when I was at Atletico Madrid, and I love Atletico, my former club. I see some players doing that when they join a club but the romance in football has gone. It's a different thing now. People are coming and leaving. When you are joining a club you want to do the best for yourself and that club and that's all.
'Some people like to kiss the badge. They can do it. I only want to score goals and do my job and achieve all the targets the team has. When I was born in Madrid I was not a Liverpool fan or a Chelsea fan. I was only an Atletico Madrid fan. I still am. Maybe it's the only badge I will kiss if I have to kiss one.'
When Torres arrived on Merseyside he found himself lying low in a hotel room as he waited to sign, passing the time by watching DVDs and reading books about his new city, his new club and legends like Bill Shankly, Bob Paisley and Dalglish. By last month, the bond had diminished, overtaken by ambition and the fear of wasting his best years at Anfield as the club chased past glories against a backdrop of boardroom squabbles as Tom Hicks and George Gillett tried to sell.
Doubts had started to creep in long ago when Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano were allowed to leave the club for Real Madrid and Barcelona.
'It wasn't just last summer, really,' said Torres. 'Maybe the last two years. Especially with the old owners. I think when the new owner, John Henry, came and brought his team with him, the club were moving in the right direction. They have ambition and they know how to do things and go back to the way they were. It is my opinion, though, that they need time for that. Maybe they will need the time while I'm at my best age to play football.I took the decision to leave because I heard about Chelsea's interest. They were pushing hard for me, which meant they really wanted me. I really wanted to leave Liverpool, so I told them straight.
If no-one had wanted me, I would have played happily. It's been a very tough season. The progress has not been the best. They've had problems and are in a difficult moment but I helped the team and did my job all the time.I explained my situation, my feelings, and was honest with everyone. I told everyone, face to face, my feelings and that I wanted to leave for Chelsea. They didn't hear that in the press. They heard it from me. That was maybe 10 or 12 days before the window closed. They didn't want me to leave. They tried to ask me to stay. I told them my decision was made and I wasn't going to change my mind. So they tried to get the best money and a replacement. I understand their position. I told them what I wanted, and I had to wait until the last few minutes of the window to sign.'
This timescale puts the transfer request somewhere after the 2-2 draw against Everton at Anfield and before the win against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, when Torres scored twice.It was more than a week later when Chelsea's swoop became public and the record transfer accelerated towards its conclusion on deadline day, last Monday.
PAYING THE PRICE
Chelsea’s annual wage bill has soared to £172.5million — and that’s before they pay Fernando Torres £175,000 a week. The figure is almost £40m more than Manchester City (£133.3m), according to official accounts for the year ending June 2010. Manchester United have the third largest salary bill at £131.7m, while Arsenal’s is £110m.
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard would have known better than most the dilemma Torres had been wrestling with, having twice come close to leaving Anfield for Stamford Bridge.
Ultimately, Gerrard opted to stay on Merseyside but, when he learned of Chelsea's move for Torres, he phoned his team-mate to wish him luck. He was one of the first ones who called me and said if I left, if I stayed, he would help me and support me,' said Torres. 'Maybe because he was in that situation first. He's been a very good friend and team-mate from the first to the last day.
'He only wanted the best for me and said he'd agree with whatever decision I made.'
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