Torres' great talent was obvious to everyone as he made his progress through the youth ranks at Atletico Madrid after joining the club in 1995. He starred for Spain in the 2001 European Under-16 Championship and scored the only goal in the final against France and finished as the leading goalscorer with seven goals in six games and was voted the best player of the tournament. The following season Torres scored six goals in 36 matches as he established himself in the Atletico team that won promotion to La Liga. Torres shone again on the international stage in the summer of 2002 at the European Under-19 Championship when he again scored the only goal in the final and ended as the tournament's leading goalscorer with four goals in four games and yes... was voted the best player.
Torres showed his promise by scoring 13 goals in 29 games in his first season in the top-flight, but it was in the 2003/04 season when Torres became a 19-year-old superstar. He scored 19 league goals in 35 games and made his full international debut on 6 September 2003 against Portugal. "I was captain in Atletico at 19, playing in the same team as Demetrio Albertini who won three Champions Leagues and Sergi Barjuan from Barcelona, who had won everything, and they were 32, 33, "Torres said. "I was a kid as captain, so I wasn’t the real captain, just a kid learning from them." Torres proved his worth in his first World Cup in 2006 with three goals in four matches but the Spanish team were on their way home after losing 3-1 to France in the last 16. Torres had been a key player at underachieving Atletico Madrid all his career and needed a new challenge. He had scored on average a goal every 2.6 games in 244 appearances for the club, a total of 91 goals. Rafa Benítez and Liverpool's new American owners showed their intent for the 2007/08 season by splashing out a club record fee of £20.2 million for the exciting Spaniard. Surely a coincidence he was paraded at Anfield on 4 July, USA's independence day? A lot of responsibility was placed on Torres' young shoulders in Madrid, but at Liverpool he wasn't the only one responsible for the success or lack thereof. It is hard to know which adjectives or superlatives to use to describe Torres' first season in English football. He announced himself to the Anfield public by scoring a beautifully-taken goal against Chelsea. He would score similar goals at Marseille and at Tottenham, by dropping his shoulder and easing past a defender before placing his shot immaculately into the far corner of the goal.
Benítez was criticised for 'resting' Torres early in the season but the facts suggest such criticism was unjustified. He was involved in 33 of the 38 League matches and even if he didn't play so frequently in the domestic cup games, he still found time to score a sublime hat-trick in the League cup-tie at Reading. In Europe though he was pretty much indispensable. Once the knock-out stage of the competition arrived, he really started to make people across the continent sit up and take notice, scoring a wonderful winner in the San Siro to see off the challenge of Inter Milan and then scoring against Arsenal and Chelsea in the quarter-final and semi-final. Torres wasn't prolific enough in away matches as just three of his 24 League goals came away from Anfield. At home he was absolutely sensational, especially in the second half of the season. His strike against Sunderland on 2 February 2007 started a run of eight successive home League matches in which he scored 12 times, including successive hat-tricks against Middlesbrough and West Ham United as well as the winner in his first Merseyside derby. It was a scoring run the like of which hadn't been seen at Anfield since the days of Roger Hunt, certainly not in a player's first full season at the club. In scoring at White Hart Lane on the final day of the League season, Torres overtook a record previously held by Ruud van Nistelrooy for the most number of League goals scored by a non-British player during his debut season in England's top division. He was runner-up to Cristiano Ronaldo in the vote for the Football Writers' Player of the Year and also came second when the votes were cast by his fellow professionals.
Torres did not finish his debut season with a winners' medal for his club, but on the international scene however, it was quite a different story. Torres travelled to the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland as part of a talented squad that included his Liverpool teammates Xabi Alonso, Pepe Reina and Alvaro Arbeloa. Torres played in all five matches as his country progressed to the final in Vienna. He proved he was the man for the big occasion by scoring a brilliant winner in the first-half. He had now scored winning goals in European championships' final at three different levels - Under-16, Under-19 and now senior - all of them ending 1-0, an incredible record. Liverpool's new favourite "Number Nine" had a stop-start season in 2008/09. Niggling injuries curtailed his progress and at the turn of the year Torres had only scored five goals in 16 matches, including a brace in away victories against Everton and Manchester City. Torres was determined to make up for lost time in the second part of the season and scored 11 goals in 22 matches when the title was Liverpool's to lose, which they unfortunately did.
In 2009/10 Fernando's goals-per-game ratio in Premier League matches was his best yet, 18 from 22 matches. In so doing, he became the fastest Liverpool player to reach 50 League goals. Frustratingly he missed almost as many matches as he played in, as Liverpool gained 23 less points in the League compared to the previous season. The major test of whether Liverpool could match Torres' ambitions did not come with a change of ownership or even a change of manager. It came when Chelsea tried again to prize him away from Anfield in the January 2011 transfer-window. It hardly came as a surprise when Torres handed in a transfer request as he had been looking very unhappy in the red shirt in the last few months. On the day the window closed Torres was at Melwood in the morning but in the evening he was in London signing for defending Premiership champions. It was a most unsatisfactory end to Torres' three and a half years in L4. His quip of never having kissed the Liverpool badge left a bitter taste.
Many onlookers suspected that Chelsea would find it difficult to accommodate Drogba, Anelka and Torres in the same team and so it proved. The fourth most expensive player in history made his Chelsea debut against his former club Liverpool early in February 2011. Carragher and Agger snuffed out any threat from their former teammate and the Spaniard was substituted shortly before Meireles scored the only goal of the game for the visitors. Torres would have to wait until 23 April to score his first Chelsea goal and by the end of the season it was still his only goal from 14 Premier League matches and four Champions League matches. The massive transfer fee seemed to be a real millstone around his neck, but his performances for Chelsea in the second half of the season were really no different to those for Liverpool in the first half of the season. Torres continued to struggle to score goals in the 2011/12 season, netting only six times from thirty-two Premier League fixtures. His goals-per-game ratio was slightly better in cup competitions and he did finally get his first winners' medals at club level. However, his contribution to Chelsea's cup double was small as he was an unused substitute against Liverpool in the FA Cup final at Wembley and was only brought on as a substitute a few minutes from the end of normal time in the Champions League final in Munich. At Liverpool 69% of Torres' goals, a total of 56, were engineered by defence-splitting passes, in most instances from Steven Gerrard or Xabi Alonso. The Spaniard was in no doubt comforted in seeing Rafa Benítez replacing Roberto Di Matteo as Chelsea's manager in November 2012. Whether his former boss can play to Torres' strengths like at Liverpool, remains to be seen.
The Spaniard's form improved under his former Liverpool manager. Although he still wasn't finding the net too regularly in Premier League matches in 2012/13 (just eight from thirty-six appearances), his goals in the Europa League (six from nine matches) were a key factor in Chelsea reachiing the Amsterdam final, where Torres scored the first goal in a 2-1 victory over Benfica. But only thirty-four goals overall in two and a half seasons at Stamford Bridge was still nowhere near the goals-per-game ratio he had enjoyed as a Liverpool player.
In 2013/14 Torres started sixteen Premier League matches for Chelsea and came on as a substitute in another twelve. He also played in three domestic cup-ties, the European Super Cup match against Bayern Munich at the start of the season and nine Champions League matches, including both legs of the semi-final against his first club, Atletico Madrid. His goal return for the season was eleven from forty-one matches.
After three and a half years as a Chelsea player the 30-year-old striker agreed to move on loan for two years to Italian club AC Milan. He had only scored one league goal in 589 minutes for the Milan club when it was announced on 27 December that he was going to make his move permanent in January. Only 48 hours later Milan loaned Torres for 18 months to his boyhood club, Atletico for whom he appeared in the 2016 Champions League final, which was lost on penalties to city rivals Real. The move was made permanent for no fee in July 2016 and he won his first trophy, with Atletico in 2018 when he came on as a late substitute in the Europa League final. Torres became a free agent in the summer of 2018 and promptly joined Sagan Tosu in the Japanese league.
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|1||11.08.2007||Aston Villa||Villa Park||League|
Liverpool Echo press report on Chelsea - Liverpool on 06.02.2011.
By MATT BARLOW at the Daily Mail on on 5th February 2011.
By Ian Doyle at Liverpool Daily Post on 31st January 2011.
From Liverpool Daily Post on 6th February 2011
Liverpool Echo press report on Liverpool - Benfica on 08.04.2010.
Daily Post report by Ian Doyle on Aston Villa - Liverpool on 29.12.2009.
A Liverpoolfc.tv interview with El Nino from 2nd December 2009.
The ultimate number nine at Liverpool gives his views on El Nino in Daily Mail on 26th December 2009.
Fernando Torres played his 100th game for Liverpool vs. Wigan Athletic on 16th December. How does his scoring record compare to other Liverpool greats after their landmark 100th game?
Liverpool Echo press report on Liverpool - Hull City on 26.09.2009.
30 December 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo,
By James Carroll at Liverpoolfc.tv on 26 May 2009.
LFChistory.net has exclusive access to LFC.tv's "60 minutes" interviews in text-format.
Fernando Torres was signed by Liverpool on 4th July 2007. In his first interview in English football, Fernando Torres talks to Liverpoolfc.tv.
Liverpool Echo match report from Liverpool - Chelsea pon 1st of February 2009.
Reina and Torres chat from fernando9torres.com in September 2008.
Brilliant footage of Liverpool and Spain star Fernando Torres in action for Atletico Madrid juniors.
Interview with Fernando Torres in Daily Mail from April 2008.
Through Liverpool's illustrious history has a player rarely performed as greatly in his debut season as Fernando Torres.
The Guardian match report by Daniel Taylor at Anfield on Liverpool - Middlesbrough on 23.02.2008.
Translated by "Another Spanish fan" on 15 February 2008.
The Observer match report from Liverpool - Portsmouth on December 22, 2007.
From The Times by Gabriele Marcotti and Guillem Balague.
Stuart James from The Guardian at the Madejski Stadium on September 25, 2007.
Ben Thornley, Liverpool Daily Post on 03.09.2007.
UEFA Champions League Magazine in October 2007.
Sid Lowe in The Guardian on 4th of July, 2007.
20th of August 2007 by Nick Peet, Liverpool Echo.
An interview with Fernando Torres from 16th of August 2007 by Enrique Ortego ABC.
Liverpool's new striker, revelling in being given his chance on the biggest stage, tells Guillem Balague about his Anfield hopes. The Times on 13.07.2007.
Comparisons between Fernando Torres and Kenny Dalglish are not unfounded, reckons Andy Hunter.
"The Fernando Torres transfer was interesting. He is a good player. We would not have been interested in him if he wasn't. For years we tried to do a deal with him but we never quite managed it, either because Atlético did not want to sell or the player felt he was too young. We just lost interest after a while because you can get fed up of going back to the same venue all the time.
We didn't pursue our interest this summer and if he's gone for £20 million or so then that is a fair price for him - but he was on huge money in Madrid. I think also the fact that Rafael Benitez is Spanish may have helped Liverpool conclude the deal."
Alex Ferguson on Liverpool's record signing Torres
"As a Spanish Atletico fan living in Madrid, I would like to tell Liverpool fans how sorry we are to be losing Fernando Torres. People here always said that the Premiership was a perfect competition for Torres. He is strong, tall, very fast and very talented. Torres is not a classic "in box" striker and this season scored 14 goals, despite being played as a winger. He only played the last four matches as a forward, and scored four goals in those matches. For five consecutive years, he has been the clear top scorer of the team. And all this in a team which plays dreadful football. Torres improved a lot this year in one-on-ones with the goalkeeper and also improved in terms of ball control. He can score goals from wherever he wants, his first touch is fantastic and and he is a good header of the ball. In my opinion, he is one of the best strikers in Europe, but plays in a team that don't play attacking football. A fee of £26.5m is not expensive for what he is." - Javier Lopez, Madrid
A letter from an Atletico fan to Liverpool Echo regarding Torres' move to Liverpool
"The manager and many of the technical staff speak my language. It makes it much easier to adapt. At my club I couldn't achieve my aspirations and I thought Liverpool's offer would give me the most at this stage in my career. Also, there's the relationship between the fans and the club - the social background of Liverpool's fans, from a hard-working city supporting a hard-working club, this is very important to me."
Fernando Torres has already won the Liverpool fans over with this confession
"Torres is the nearest thing I have ever seen to Roger Hunt. When Roger was around, if there was a chance inside the 18 yard box then the ball was in the back of the net - there was no question about that.
He got into positions that no-one else would ever dream of getting into and that's the same with Torres. You don't think he has any chance of doing anything because he has two men around him, but then he drops his shoulder, does a nutmeg and the ball is in the net. That's exactly what Roger used to do and he was a World Cup winner.
Tommy Smith compares Fernando Torres to Roger Hunt in June 2008
I don't think people realise how hard it was for Fernando at Atletico Madrid. He was captain of them when he was 18 - just one-and-a-half years after he had been a professional. There was so much pressure on him and he was only a kid. Since moving here, all that pressure has gone away. He couldn't even walk down the street when he was in Madrid. Being in Liverpool was like a release for him and I think he has been unbelievable since he came here. He settled in so quickly, he scored a lot of goals and everyone is really happy with him. He's got a great character. But if we leave him like we did at Goodison? We know what is going to happen...
Mikel Arteta speaks of his admiration for Fernando Torres in January 2009
"Torres is probably a lot quicker than I was, but when I played I used to play with two wingers. I was more of an inside forward before I became an out and out striker, like Torres is now. What I've noticed about Torres is that he is also very good at bringing other players into the game and he is a very intelligent player."
Goalscoring great, Roger Hunt, on Liverpool's latest striking sensation, Fernando Torres
The sale of Arbeloa, Hyypia and Alonso was an important loss. Alvaro was a player who did a vital job for us, always played to a high level and his flexibility was a huge bonus. Sami may not have played every week but he was a 10 out of 10 on and off the pitch, bringing calm to the ground and having everyone's admiration. And Xabi … players like Xabi are very rare. He was the team's engine and you know that when you change an engine, it takes time to work again.
Torres on Liverpool's downfall in the 2009-2010 season
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Atletico Madrid||2000-2001||Spain 2||4||1||6||1|
|Atletico Madrid||2001-2002||Spain 2||36||6||37||7|
|Atletico Madrid||2002-2003||Spain 1||29||13||32||14|
|Atletico Madrid||2003-2004||Spain 1||35||19||40||21|
|Atletico Madrid||2004-2005||Spain 1||38||16||49||20|
|Atletico Madrid||2005-2006||Spain 1||36||13||40||13|
|Atletico Madrid||2006-2007||Spain 1||36||14||40||15|
|Chelsea||2010-2011||England Premier League||14||1||18||1|
|Chelsea||2011-2012||England Premier League||32||6||49||11|
|Chelsea||2012-2013||England Premier League||36||8||64||22|
|Chelsea||2013-2014||England Premier League||28||5||41||11|
|AC Milan||2014-2015||Italy 1||10||1||10||1|
|Atletico Madrid||2014-2015||Spain 1||19||3||26||6|
|Atletico Madrid||2015-2016||Spain 1||30||11||44||12|
|Atletico Madrid||2016-2017||Spain 1||31||8||45||10|
|Atletico Madrid||2017-2018||Spain 1||27||5||45||10|