FM

Apr 042014
 

Paris Saint-Germain dispelled the belief that the perceived lack of competition in Ligue 1 would hinder their chances in the Champions League with a 3-1 victory over Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea at the Parc des Princes this evening, despite giving up a one goal lead inside the first half.

Much was made of the attacking qualities in the French Champions’ locker before the kick-off and it was no surprise when the hosts went one goal to the good inside three minutes after a very positive start on the front foot. Chelsea were caught cold by the pace of the Parisians’ attack and Ezequiel Lavezzi slammed the ball past Petr Cech when the ball finally fell into a shooting position after impressive work on the flank by Blaise Matuidi.

Jose Mourinho’s decision to play Andre Schurrle as a lone forward cum attacking midfielder this evening was pondered by the media prior to kick-off as possibly a message to owner Roman Abramovich with regards to the purchase of a striker in the summer, however it must be said that the German winger by trade put in a commendable shift. Schurrle consistently harried the defensive pairing of Alex and Thiago Silva and then had the energy to put Marco Verratti under pressure when the ball was moved onto the Italian.

Paris Saint-Germain seemed to have stunned themselves such was the early timing of their opening goal with Laurent Blanc’s side unsure whether or not to pile forward and try and take further advantage of Chelsea’s sluggish start. The home side did in fact show a hint of indecisiveness and elected to sit back on their one goal lead and it allowed Chelsea to compose themselves and gain a foothold in the contest. It was the sort of faux mercy that Europe’s elite tend not to show after taking a lead and that is something Paris Saint-Germain will have to learn from should they progress to the semi-final stage.

Chelsea’s equaliser came through a rare Thiago Silva mistake, the Brazilian defender seemed to get the timing of his challenge ever so slightly off and Oscar was felled by a trailing leg.  Eden Hazard comfortably stepped up to wrong foot Salvatore Sirigu with his penalty finding the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Marco Verratti will come in for criticism tonight as the Italian gave the ball away a few times too many however the former Pescara midfielder was crucial to PSG’s ball retention throughout the match. Seldom did you see the French champions play an aerial ball from their own penalty area, the hosts much rather preferred to play the ball out from Sirigu and Verratti was often the recipient. As Marouane Fellaini found last night in a similar position, against a team who presses high up the pitch at pace it is a thankless task receiving the ball from the goalkeeper as you have to turn, often be faced with two or more men and try and slide an inch perfect pass through a miniscule opening.

Verratti did manage to retain possession more than people realise as well as running himself into the ground to create an opening for others to pass into. It was a rather sacrificial performance with Verratti giving up potential rave reviews for his own performance for the good of the team.

The match had slipped into a lull after the break with neither team looking particularly threatening going forward, Chelsea happy with their away goal and PSG rather puzzled with regards to how to regain their earlier tempo. PSG were given a significant helping hand by David Luiz just after the hour when the Brazilian gave away a sloppy free-kick wide on the left hand side in a position where PSG were looking unlikely to develop the move. The man of the match Lavezzi went on to deliver an almost perfect delivery into the gap between the goalkeeper and the line of defenders with David Luiz putting the ball into his own net.

An injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic not long after saw the introduction of Lucas Moura. The direct running of the former Sao Paulo starlet caused Chelsea real problems and Moura’s positivity proved to be infectious to the rest of the team.

Chelsea had lost their momentum courtesy of both the goal and the introduction of Fernando Torres in place of the hard working, if isolated, Andre Schurrle and PSG took full advantage of the newfound room in midfield, Thiago Motta orchestrated the tempo without so much as a second glace from Chelsea’s forward line. It seemed only a matter of time before another PSG goal came.

In truth it looked as if both teams had settled for the result as it stood heading into injury time, until €42million substitute Javier Pastore received the ball in the right hand corner of Chelsea’s half. The Argentinean playmaker seemed to flick a switch and turn on the style out of the blue with his nimble feet seeing him beat three Chelsea defenders before powering the ball past Petr Cech at his near post to send the Parc des Princes into an ecstatic frenzy just seconds before the full-time whistle.

Jose Mourinho was unsurprisingly disappointed with his team after conceding a late goal labelling the manner in Chelsea allowed Pastore to score as “ridiculous.” Mourinho continued on what appeared to be the words of a frustrated man by suggesting it would be “difficult” to overcome the 3-1 deficit with Chelsea “not a team full of talent to score a lot of goals.”

On the topic of PSG, Laurent Blanc’s men showed that they were far more than wealthy pretenders this evening with the widespread quality in the side showing them to be a class above Chelsea, despite a difficult period following the equalising goal. Thiago Silva was a rock at the back with the captain’s reading of the game cutting short Chelsea attacks before they had even had chance to develop, giving away the penalty was the only blotch on his copybook.

There are worries for Laurent Blanc ahead of Tuesday’s return leg at Stamford Bridge with Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both being substituted through injury with Ibrahimovic appearing to have pulled a hamstring which will almost certainly see him miss the trip to London. Lucas Moura’s twenty minute cameo did however show that there are options from the bench to replace Ibrahimovic without too much of a decrease in production.

With the heavyweights in the competition all in a good position to progress to the semi-final you have to feel that PSG showed tonight that they have a good mentality as well as individual quality on the pitch. A year ago we saw a team which perhaps wasn’t ready for the pressures that come with latter stage Champions League football however this year they have taken that next step. Despite a set-back following their early opening goal the French side remained largely positive in the second half and with this added to their obvious footballing qualities, it is easy to see them being more than a match for any of the side’s left in the competition.

Apr 132013
 

Fernando Torres has now scored 20 goals for Chelsea this season, a goal tally that betters the likes of Wayne Rooney (16), Carlos Tevez (16), Olivier Giroud (16), Sergio Aguero (14), Dimitar Berbatov (13) and Eden Dzeko (13), yet he is still widely regarded as a flop after the £50m Roman Abramovich forked out for him.

After just 1 goal in his first season and 11 in his second, Chelsea fans admirably stuck by the Premier League’s most expensive player and offered him their full support during this difficult period.

“I would like things to be much better but the support they give me every day is amazing,” Torres said a year ago. “I remember a game against Wolverhampton and I was on the bench, and they were still singing my name. I’ve been very lucky to live very good moments but that game, when I was in the middle of nothing and not playing, was maybe the best memory I have in all my career. At the beginning of the season, I went through a hard moment, I was not playing, things were wrong and I was eight games without playing – I had never been in this situation before. The only thing that gave me hope was the support of the people. That game against Wolverhampton showed me there are important things to fight for, the love of the fans, the support of the club. My team-mates as well but the fans are the ones who have always been there from the first day until now.”

When you consider how infrequently Torres was scoring for Chelsea it was remarkable to see how well supported he was by the fans. When you compare the treatment of Torres by Chelsea fans to the treatment of Dimitar Berbatov by United fans, when he was the Premier League’s top scorer in the season they won their record breaking 19th title, it’s all the more impressive. Of course, it was in their best interest to try and get the best out of their £50m man, but football fans are fickle and many turn on their players for much less. What seemed to be Torres’ saving grace was that he at least appeared to be trying, even if he wasn’t coming up with the goods.

However, in Torres’ third season in West London, with him still failing to recreate his form at Liverpool, now often not putting in the required effort, and becoming associated with the dismissal of the incredibly popular Roberto Di Matteo and the appointment of the incredibly unpopular Rafa Benitez, Chelsea fans have slowly turned on him.

At the beginning of the year, following yet another poor performance, Torres was booed and jeered by the fans at Stamford Bridge during their game against Swansea. It was his 100th appearance for the club, with a goal tally of just 26, and this latest lacklustre performance was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Chelsea fans.

Still, after racking up 20 goals this season, Torres is two goals away from matching his tally for 2009-2010 with Liverpool, having already bettered his 2008-2009 record, meaning this season could become his second highest goal-scoring season in the six years he’s played in England. So, just how deserving is he of criticism?

Aside from the slating he’s received for a lack of effort, the quality of the opposition he’s scored against takes something away from his goal tally. Just 7 of his 20 goals have come in the Premier League, against Reading (20th), Sunderland (17th), Aston Villa (16th), Norwich (14th), Newcastle (13th) and Arsenal (5th). Of those 7 goals, only those against Arsenal and Sunderland had a direct impact on the final result.

The remaining 13 goals came in Cup competitions. In the League Cup he scored the fifth in a 6-0 win over Wolves (20th in the Championship) and the fifth in a 5-1 win over Leeds (17th in the Championship). In the FA Cup he scored a late equaliser against Brentford (3rd in League 1) to force a replay and again in their 2-0 win over Middlesbrough (9th in the Championship). In the Champions League he scored twice in the 6-1 win over Nordsjaelland (2nd in the Danish League). In the Europa League he scored in the third in a 3-1 win over Steaua București (1st in the Romanian League), but more importantly, scored twice in their 3-1 win over Rubin Kazan (5th in the Russian League) and again in their 3-2 defeat against the same club in the second leg, which ensured they progressed to the semi-final on goal difference. He also scored in the 3-1 win over Monterrey (7th in the Mexican League) in the FIFA World Club Cup semi-final. This would suggest that Arsenal, who are currently 21 points behind league leaders Manchester United, are the best side he’s scored against this season, which isn’t anything to write home about.

When you compare Torres to strikers at other clubs (and Demba Ba since he joined Chelsea), a clearer picture of his flaws begins to develop.

Torres scores, on average, every 5+ hours that he’s on the pitch, which is a poor record compared to others, with the likes of Dzeko, Suarez, Van Persie and Rooney scoring every 2+ hours. Another huge flaw is his clear cut chance conversion, with him scoring just a quarter of the chances that are put on a plate for him, which is dwarfed by the likes of Suarez, Rooney, Tevez and Dzeko who score half of their chances. Torres’ passing isn’t dreadful, but it is still weaker than most other top club strikers.

Where Torres shines is his ability to get his efforts on target, with a shooting accuracy of 57%, but he isn’t deadly enough in front of goal so isn’t converting these chances.

In conclusion, whilst any season a striker scores 20+ goals can’t be regarded as a poor one, the quality of the opposition and the lacking effort in most of his appearances means it’s probably too little too late for the Spaniard. With Radamel Falcao managing 28 goals in 33 appearances this season and 36 goals in 50 appearances the season before, you can understand why Chelsea would be keen on shipping Torres back to his former club and luring the Colombian in his place. They may be cutting their losses and the £50m spent on Torres may ensure that he goes down as one of the Premier League’s biggest ever flops, but Chelsea fans can take some comfort in the fact that at least they didn’t spend £35m on Andy Carroll…

Jan 022013
 

Daniel Sturridge has played 161 minutes of Premier League football for Chelsea this season, having started one game and being brought on as a substitute for six games. He has completed 61 of his attempted 71 passes in the league this season, giving him an accuracy rate of 86% (Torres 70%). He has been successful with 40 of his 47 attempted passes in the final third, giving him an accuracy of 85%.

Sturridge has had 104 touches of the ball this season and was unsuccessful with just 4 of them.

He has scored 1 goals from 9 shots this season, 11%, and has been on target with 5 shots, 56% (Torres 21% and 67%). 7 of his shots were with his left foot and 2 with his right. Sturridge has a clear-cut chance conversion rate of 33% (Torres 27%).

Sturridge has created 2 chances (Torres 20) for his team mates but has 0 assists (Torres 1). He attempted 2 crosses (Torres 25) but neither were successful (Torres 6).

Sturridge’s strengths are his dribbling, long shots and finishing. His biggest weakness is his defensive contribution, along with his ability to hold on to the ball and win aerial duals. He likes to cut inside, play long balls, dribble and keep the ball on the floor.

Nov 232012
 

You can find pockets of various cultures and nationalities in London. Since 2011, the south-west of the capital has experienced an ever growing community of Spanish footballers.

Of course, Chelsea is no stranger to Spaniards. Albert Ferrer was first and was joined by Enrique De Lucas in 2002. Asier Del Horno joined the group for a year in 2005.

The new trend started after Fernando Torres arrived at Chelsea on transfer deadline day, almost two years ago. Oriol Romeu, Juan Mata and more recently, Cesar Azpilicueta, follow through the door. They were complimented by support staff, Dr. Paco Biosca, Dr. Eva Carneiro and sports therapist, Ivan Ortega.

The four appeared on stage together last month at Stamford Bridge for “An Audience With . . . .,” responding to questions from and interacting with supporters. They all spoke fluent English, never struggling in communication, with their other teammates.

The three arrived later and have credited Torres with helping them settle. However, when he sat down with the official Chelsea website, the striker modestly rejected the notion of the other three looking up to him.

“No, I am not the father figure!” he laughed. “You have all the things you learned in your head which you can use for the good of the team, and that’s what I do here. But I don’t like to be a leader, maybe an example as someone to follow-if you like.”

“We are all still young and friends. Juan and I have been friends and playing on the national team since the Confederations Cup in 2009. I was so happy when he came here. We have helped Oriol settle and now, Azpi. There is also staff. I think there are a total of seven of us in the dressing room. So it makes it easier for the new guys to have people here to help them. “

“There is no leader required to talk for the others. Our job is to help each other. It’s not a job for which, Juan has to thank me. “

“I remember the first time I arrived in Liverpool. Pepe Reina helped with everything. He made it easy for me. When I was the captain of Atletico Madrid, I tried to help everyone. These are the basics in football. You need to create an atmosphere and try to create a group of friends. It’s not easy and it doesn’t always happen, but you have to try.”

“It’s what I learned when I was 16. When I arrived in Atletico’s dressing room, nobody wanted to talk to me because they were threatened. They called me “El Nino” because nobody knew my name. I didn’t like it and it shouldn’t have been like that. Dressing rooms are very complicated, having players from different parts of the world and having different roles.”

“I was captain in Atletico at 19. I played on the same team as Demetrio Albertini, who won three Champions Leagues and Sergi Barjuan from Barcelona, who won everything. They were 32 and 33.”

“As captain, I was just a kid learning from them. I wasn’t the real captain. I wore the armband but they were the leaders and I learned a lot from them.”

“It’s not easy to arrive new and find your place. You might feel as though someone doesn’t like you or you might need to find new friends. It’s not easy and I don’t like it. It’s not easy.So you want to protect the players who are alone.”

“I am quite shy and calm but it’s very difficult to play for and support Atletico Madrid when the Real Madrid is located in the same city. They are the biggest club in the world and you quickly learn to fight against the injustices you feel, being the smaller team.”

The one injustice Torres currently sees in the Chelsea dressing room is the lack of space afforded him by a certain teammate. Mata recently admitted to the official club magazine that the former Liverpool man is growing a little exasperated with the playmaker’s messy locker next door. Upon being asked the question, Torres responds with a simple shake of the head. He is clearly not impressed!

“Juan? Yes. I just want to move my locker,” he says, as another smile creeps across his face. It’s not so bad because I want him next to me, but I have to be on top of him all the time because it’s a mess. It’s a mess. I don’t know if I can describe it. There are magazines, letters, pictures, clothes, creams, everything! He cannot open the door. If he did it would make a bigger mess.”

Fortunately the pair is linking up better on the field, but there is also plenty of time to spend as a group, away from the club.”

“Sometime we go to dinner or meet at each other’s homes to watch our favorite TV shows” confirms Torres. When you’re in a new city, you try to be with people you know. You then, make your own friends. However, we can all join together as well.”

It is this united front that has brought us success this far and delivered two trophies at the end of last season. Torres readily admits he has had to learn sacrifices for the greater good. Those who see the effort in his performances cannot question his commitment. Last week he received his Golden Boot award for Euro 2012. He explained individual acclaim is not possible without superb teamwork.

“Football is a team sport and not an individual sport. We win as a team and every individual is better if we are part of the team” he stresses. “If we win trophies, we have the chance to win individual awards because it comes with the team targets.”

“If we win the Champion League, everyone is a better, more recognized player. If you win an individual award and nothing with your team, it means nothing. You have to win with the team and for the team.”

“In your life you go through a difficult situation or a very good situation and you have different moods, but you learn things from your experiences.”

Sep 112012
 

Before I start, I would just like to clarify that I am a fan of Fernando Torres, not quite as much as I was before, but I support Chelsea so want what’s best for the club, not Fernando Torres or any other player. I really want Torres to succeed and be amazing but I just don’t think it’s going to happen.

When Chelsea announced that Torres had been signed, I couldn’t contain my excitement. He was a player who I had often wished was playing for us instead of against us. I was so delighted that I went and paid £15 to have his name and number on the back of my shirt. He was already a hero in my eyes and I think that is why it has taken me so long to realise that he will never shine at Chelsea.

He will never ‘be back’, he will never single-handedly ruin teams like Robin van Persie or Falcao would, but he will continue to look out of place and feed off the magic of those around him. I struggle to recall a game in a Chelsea shirt where Torres has actually looked like part of the team. In my eyes he sticks out like a sore thumb. Of course this is a Chelsea team ‘in transition’ for those of you who want to give excuses for the terrible cohesion throughout the team but even when it does click, it is through Eden Hazard, who looks every bit worth the £32m he signed for, unlike £50m Fernando Torres. For so long I ignored the poor first touch, the clear lack of pace and the pretty poor movement. He gets it right, occasionally but nowhere near enough for a £50M striker. It is of course only a handful of games into the season and Torres probably will stagger his way to 20 goals this season in all competitions but who wouldn’t with Hazard, Mata and Oscar behind them?

To those Chelsea fans who are still convinced he’s the best thing ever to happen to the club, you’ll realise soon. You’ll notice how he often hides behind defenders or how his touch is often about five yards in front of himself but he’s so far away from everyone else he gets away with it. I’m pretty sure he had a moan at the end of last season about not being able to be the main man and the star striker, so why Fernando, now you’ve got your big chance, do I often see you drifting out wide? I really want Torres to be a success but he’s just a shadow of his former self. He’s obviously never going to get that blistering pace back. I recall the game versus Wigan where he was one on one with a player and at one point was actually a yard ahead of the defender but he turned back inside allowing the defender to catch up? Fernando Torres of three seasons ago would have left him for dead and went and slotted it in. There must be something not quite there mentally; there are obviously doubts in his own mind as well as he’s nowhere near as confident as he used to be. His goal against Newcastle was impressive but I lost count how many times I found myself ‘MOVE TORRES’ at him during that game. Hazard would be dancing round players down the wing yet Torres would be stationary on the corner of the box. Is it hard to make a near post run?

You might be wondering why this article is titled ‘The Fernando Torres Disorder’, well it’s because of how many Chelsea fans are still adamant that he’s going to set the world alight. I want it to happen too but it just isn’t going to happen. What sort of player moans about the club who pay him £175,000 a week, the day after he’s just won the Champions League? Torres can do no wrong according to a section of the Chelsea support and it’s sad to see. I’m pretty sure there are fans out there that would be happy if Torres scored but Chelsea lost. It does make me laugh when Torres does score and all his fan boys/girls say things like ‘that will shut the haters up’…they aren’t haters, they are people who want the best for Chelsea. I used to be part of this deluded gang but they need to wake up. I would swap him for Falcao any day of the week.

To his credit, there have been times where he’s look decent but let’s consider the opposition in those games. He scored a hat trick against QPR. A QPR defence including Anton Ferdinand who quite understandably must of wanted to get those 90 minutes over and done with. He scored two against Leicester, a Championship team. He scored two for Spain against Ireland. He scored that goal versus Barcelona where he did show good composure but the game was already dead. That goal away against Manchester United was a very well taken finish but we all know what happened a few minutes later after he rounded De Gea.

Torres’ goal versus Reading was the first goal he’s scored for Chelsea that has actually changed the outcome of the game/tie. Only 20 months after the club spent £50M on him…Shambolic.

Aug 112012
 
Fernando Torres

Born, March 20th 1984

Fernando Torres was born in Fuenlabrada, Community of Madrid.

Jointed Atletico Madird, 1995

First professional contract, 1999

Torres signed his first professional contract with Atletico Madrid when he was 15-years-old.

European Under-16 Football Championship, May 6th 2001

Torres was the highest scorer in the competition and scored the only goal in the final in Spain’s 1-0 win over France. He was named Player of the Tournament.

European Under-19 Football Championship, July 28th 2002

Torres was the competition’s highest scorer and scored the only goal in the final in Spain’s 1-0 win over Germany. He was named Player of the Tournament.

Demetrio Albertini, former AC Milan midfielder, October 11th 2002

“The best clubs of Europe are following him, but I believe Torres is attracted to the idea of moving to Milan. We have spoken and he has asked me for information on the team. He has a great self-confidence, rare for someone his age. He’s very strong and very fast and doesn’t seem to be an 18 year-old.”

Fernando Torres, December 6th 2002

On Barcelona interest: “Atletico don’t want to sell me, and I don’t want to leave. It’s an honour to have big teams interested in you, but I have a contract here and I want to see it out and stay long after it finishes. I don’t pay much attention to the reported offers because they rarely come about.”

Fernando Torres, February 28th 2003

On reported bid from Manchester United: “Last week they were talking about Milan, today it’s Manchester and still I know nothing,” said the striker. The president has already said that he would go himself before selling me. I am a point of reference for the fans because I came through the youth ranks and I want to stay here.”

Transfer bid, May 9th 2003

Juventus offered £10m plus Marcelo Zalayeta which was turned down.

Statistics, 2002-2003

14 goals in 31 games

Transfer bid, July 9th 2003

Chelsea’s bid of £28m was rejected.

Made captain, August 2003

Torres was made captain of Atletico Madird when he was 19-years-old.

Fernando Torres, December 18th 2003

On new contract: “I wanted to be here and the club wanted me to continue. If this isn’t the happiest moment of my life it is one of the happiest because my dream was to carry on at Atletico and I hope that these four years are just the first of many more. It’s a dream, and what I wanted.”

Enrique Cerezo, Atletico Madrid, February 4th 2004

“The best thing Abramovich can do is stay in England or look for players in Russia. He has nothing to do with us. We would never do any sort of business for Fernando Torres. He can break the bank if he wants, but he has tried other deals that have not worked out well.”

Transfer bid, March 10th 2004

Manchester United’s offer of £24m plus Diego Forlan was rejected.

Fernando Torres, March 24th 2004

“If it would help out the club, I’ll leave. If it helped out the club financially then I will swap jerseys. But I will not leave for a Spanish club. I would never face the team that I was born in while in the same league. I would be better off going to Italy. But they will have to talk to Atletico because I won’t do anything behind their back. Anyway, I’d like to spend my whole career in the red and white jersey.”

Statistics, 2003-2004

21 goals in 40 games

Transfer bid, October 5th 2004

Chelsea’s offer of £24m plus Adrian Mutu for the January transfer window was rejected.

Golden Boy award, December 13th 2004

Torres came third behind Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Tuttosport ‘European Golden Boy’ award.

Fernando Torres, February 4th 2005

“I am very proud that Barca, given how they are sweeping the league right now, are focusing on me. It encourages you to keep working hard. My head is still with Atletico Madrid, but if one day I had to leave to go elsewhere, Barca would be the only Spanish team I would go to.”

Statistics, 2004-2005

20 goals in 49 games

Transfer bid, August 31st 2005

Newcastle’s offer of £26m was turned down.

Fernando Torres, September 2nd 2005

“Newcastle’s offer came at the last minute when the Primera Liga had already started. The club didn’t even listen to the offer. I know how important that money would have been for the club and for that reason, I want to thank them for their effort in order to keep me at Atletico. I’m very happy they didn’t negotiate.”

Fernando Torres, November 12th 2005

“If a club like Arsenal and a coach like Arsene Wenger want to speak to you it is really flattering. Arsenal are in the Champions League every season and I want to play against the best teams and challenge for the biggest titles. At Atletico, things are going little by little.”

Fernando Torres, May 5th 2006

“The press are always talking about me going and recently the speculation has been stronger, probably because we are near a World Cup. But my plan is to stay here for the next three years. I haven’t signed anything with any other clubs. I have always said I want to be in the side that returns Atletico to where it deserves to be.”

Cesc Fabregas, Arsenal player, May 10th 2006

“We would love it if he came because he is a complete player with a great physique and I am a big fan of his. Torres is a good player, a great goalscorer and we would be delighted if he was to sign for us.”

Statistics, 2005-2006

13 goals in 40 games

Fernando Torres, September 4th 2006

“I had two years left on my contract. After all the uproar this summer I am still here and the club have offered me another year. I am delighted because I feel valued at the club and this is further proof. Atletico mean a great deal to me. They gave me my big break and I have lived through everything here, making my league début and becoming an international player. I owe this club a lot and, above all, I want to give something back. I am still young and have time to win trophies and enjoy the good times. I have never said I wanted to leave. There is not the money nor the titles to make me change my mind. Not all the Real Madrid presidential candidates called me, but some did. I directed them to Atletico because my intention was to continue.”

Fabio Capello, Real Madrid manager, October 2nd 2006

On Sergio Ramos’ sending off following Torres grabbing his face when no contact had been made: “Torres is a cheat and he must be punished. He has deceived the referee and it is not fair.”

Fernando Torres, April 17th 2007

“I don’t think about leaving, there have been seasons in which things have not gone well and you just want your holiday to arrive and forget everything and hope you arrive back and things are better. The important thing is where you feel good and to win things you need to feel that. It can be difficult to find that feeling and a team like that but I am convinced I will win titles here. When I am 28 I will have played in the Champions League and I will have done it with Atletico, I only think about being here. I am not obsessed about winning things, and I am not going to leave to win titles or to play in Europe – as I want to do that with Atletico because this is the club I feel for.”

Liverpool armband, April 21st 2007

In Atletico Madrid’s 2-0 defeat to Real Sociedad, Torres’ captain’s armband came loose and revealed the Liverpool motto, “you’ll never walk alone” stitched inside.

Statistics, 2006-2007

15 goals in 40 games

Transfer bid, June 30th 2007

Reports from Spain claim that Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester City have all had offers accepted.

Transfer, July 3rd 2007

Liverpool sign Torres for £26.5m.

Rafa Benitez, Liverpool manager, July 4th 2007

“Atletico Madrid had better offers and the player had better offers. But he always wanted to join Liverpool. That was the key for me. We needed to work hard because there were other clubs who wanted him that we knew about – other clubs offering more money. But the player said straight away ‘I want to join Liverpool’. He said we were his first choice and that was the key for me. He has taken a pay cut to come here.”

Fernando Torres, July 8th 2007

“Cesc has triumphed at Arsenal and, after speaking to him several times, I thought to myself: ‘Why can’t I repeat my experience? He told me the key is not to get desperate if things go against me. I understand the first few months at Anfield will not be easy but I’m determined to overcome every obstacle. My choice was not down to money. This is a personal challenge. I have signed for six seasons and my desire is to play here for the six.”

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain, July 10th 2007

“Torres has all the attributes to become firmly established as world class. Some of the other players we’re being linked with excite me too. It’s great to see us looking at young, hungry players with their best years ahead of them. Since I’ve been in the first team I can’t remember us making such a major statement of intent in the transfer market as this. In recent years it’s only really been Manchester United and Chelsea buying players around the £20m mark, so it’s great to see us able to compete for players of that kind of value.”

Fernando Torres, August 10th 2007

“Liverpool are a club that, whenever they have had bad moments, have always come back stronger. We have won everything and now we want the league again because we have gone so long without winning it. This is the biggest club in England. Everyone is thinking about the Premier League. The club has gone 17 years without doing it and everyone believes this year could be the one.”

First goal for Liverpool, August 19th 2007

Torres scored his first goal for Liverpool in his third appearance in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield.

Fernando Torres, September 3rd 2007

“I feel as if I have been at Liverpool for a long time. I intend to stay here for many years to come and I am really pleased with everything – my new team-mates, the fans, the city, the stadium and, of course with my first goal at Anfield versus Chelsea. The experience is more fulfilling when things work out and if we can maintain our recent form, I am sure that everything will continue to move along nicely.”

Fernando Torres, October 11th 2007

“Here, they’re not going to whistle for anything if you fall over. There’s no point feigning anything because referees are fooled less. Moreover, it’s your own team-mates like Steven Gerrard who don’t like you using those tricks.”

Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager, December 14th 2007

“For years we tried to do a deal there but we never quite managed it because Atletico Madrid didn’t want to sell or the player felt he was too young one year. Then we just lost interest a bit because sometimes you get fed up with going back to the same venue all the time. He’s a good player. We wouldn’t have been interested in him if he wasn’t. I think the advantage Rafa had was that he is Spanish and his dealings with Atletico were maybe better than ours because he’s Spanish.”

Fernando Torres, December 19th 2007

“These players Rush and Dalglish, they defined an era for Liverpool by scoring so many goals. It’s not just for their sake that I shy away from these comparisons, it’s for me too. I have only just arrived here. Many years down the line when I eventually leave Liverpool I would like to be held in the same affection as these players.”

PFA Player of the Year shortlist, April 11th 2008

Fernando Torres was one of the players in the Premier League in the running for the Player of the Year award.

Fernando Torres, April 30th 2008

“I hope so,” he said when asked if he would like to remain a Liverpool player for the rest of his career. “I feel very confident here. If we can win trophies, then much better. This is my team, my city and Anfield is my pitch. This is only my first season at Liverpool and I want to play better for many more seasons yet. So far I’ve had one good season but Kenny and Robbie have had six, seven, eight or 10 good seasons at Liverpool. It’s different. When I have finished my career then maybe that will be the moment to talk about these things but not now. It’s important to me that the fans think highly of me and if they’re saying these things then I would say ‘thank you, but not yet’. I think they love me and I love them. I was with Kenny Dalglish the other day and you could see in the faces of the people how much of a hero he is, 20 years after he finished his career. I want everyone to remember me in 20 years’ time.”

Most prolific Premier League foreigner, May 11th 2008

Torres became the most prolific foreigner ever in a debut season by scoring his 24th Premier League goal of the season in the 2-0 win at Tottenham to break Ruud van Nistelrooy’s previous record.

Statistics, 2007-2008

33 goals in 46 games

European Championships, June 2008

Spain finished top of the Euro 2008 group with Torres scoring in their 2-1 win over Sweden. Torres played in Spain’s 0-0 draw with Italy in the next round which his country won on penalties and in their 3-0 win over Russia in the semi-final. He scored the only goal of the game in Spain’s victory over Germany in the final. Torres was named in the UEFA Team of the Tournament.

Transfer bid, August 31st 2008

Manchester City’s offer of £50m was rejected.

Fernando Torres, October 13th 2008

“I believe we can win the Premier League or the UEFA Champions League. Arsenal produce great football, Liverpool and Chelsea are very difficult teams to play against and Manchester United played fantastically well last year. I think the four biggest teams in England are now the best in Europe. We have a good chance of doing well but it won’t be easy to finish above any of the other three sides.”

Jose Mourinho, Inter Milan manager, October 22nd 2008

“I’m no longer Chelsea manager and I don’t have to defend them so I think it’s correct if I say Drogba is a diver, Ronaldo, Fernando Torres, Robin van Persie are the divers who won more penalties during the last four or five years.”

FifPro Team of the Year, October 27th 2008

Torres is named in the FifPro Team of the Year.

Northwest Football Awards, November 18th 2008

Torres is named Premier League player of the year at the Northwest Football Awards.

Fernando Torres, February 10th 2009

“I don’t see myself playing for Real Madrid, or Barcelona or Chelsea or any other team. I see myself playing for Liverpool. I have a long contract and that’s that.”

Fernando Torres, April 13th 2009

“Those goals on Saturday were for the 96 and their families because I know that Saturday was a special day for them with it being the home game closest to the anniversary. The goals were more special because of the service on Wednesday, when we will see the families on an important day for them and for all Liverpool supporters. It makes tomorrow’s game against Chelsea all the more important. We have to try to do it for the families and the 96 who died.”

Statistics, 2008-2009

17 goals in 38 games

Contract extension, May 28th 2009

Torres signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2013.

Fernando Torres, June 15th 2009

“They say foreign players don’t care as much as the home-grown, but we are very much aware that Liverpool haven’t won the Premier League for 19 years and understand the supporters are desperate for us to put that right. The rivalry with Manchester United is intense and the roof will come off at Anfield if we beat them to next year’s title.”

Contract extension, August 14th 2009

Torres signed another contract extension, this time to see him at the club until 2014.

Fernando Torres, December 2nd 2009

“I really feel at home here. From the first day I came I have felt that Anfield is my home – I feel like I am from Liverpool, and I want that for my family too. I hope to be here for a long time and if my daughter speaks English and Scouse, I will be proud. For me, Anfield is the best place in England. This is my home, and it helps that I have learned the language. Have I picked up any Scouse? Deffo! I am picking up words all the time.”

Surgery, April 18th 2010

Torres ruled out for the season after requiring an operation on his knee.

Statistics, 2009-2010

22 goals in 32 games

World Cup, June 2010

Spain finished top of their group, with Torres starting their first game on the bench and being subbed off in their remaining two games. He was subbed off with less than an hour played in Spain’s 1-0 win over Portugal in the round of 16 and their 1-0 win over Paraguay in the quarter-final. Torres came on for the last 10 minutes in Spain’s 1-0 win in the semi-final. In the final, Torres came on in injury time as Spain beat Holland 1-0.

Fernando Torres, August 3rd 2010

“This is the best club in the country so the targets and expectations are always high. Hopefully we can stay at our level. At Liverpool the aim is to fight for every title. It was difficult last season, but we are sure we can improve this season. I am really happy to be back, really happy to stay with all my team-mates. My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed. I felt at home from the first day, I feel the fans love me and everyone knows I am really happy here and really happy to play at Anfield.”

Change of manager, January 8th 2011

Roy Hodgson was replaced by Kenny Dalglish as manager of Liverpool.

Fernando Torres, January 9th 2011

“More than ever, we need to stick together. We need to add more points, win matches and improve our standing in the table. That is our challenge and I demand the total help of our supporters in doing that. My head is in Liverpool and on helping save our season. I am professional and I always fulfil my deals. I haven’t considered leaving.”

Statistics, 2010-2011 – Liverpool

9 goals in 26 games

Transfer bid, January 28th 2011

Liverpool turned down a £35m offer from Chelsea for Torres. Torres then put in a transfer request.

Transfer, January 31st 2011

Torres joined Chelsea for £50m.

Fernando Torres, February 1st 2011

“I am so happy and so proud to be here, finally, after these tough days. At the end of the day I can say I’m a Chelsea player and I’m very, very happy. It has been two, three, four very, very hard days for me especially for everything I have leaving Liverpool but I can say I’m a Chelsea player. I’m really happy and I’m sure I’m doing one of the biggest steps forward in my career, joining a club like Chelsea.”

Chelsea début, February 6th 2011

Torres made his Chelsea début against his former club, Liverpool, in a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge.

Fernando Torres, February 14th 2011

“As a striker I’m asked for goals so I’ll pay in goals. I still haven’t seen Roman Abramovich. To put so much money down for me speaks of his dreams to keep on making history. We want to repay him for this effort. I have to pay my debt on the pitch. It’s beautiful he paid so much for me.”

First goal, April 23rd 2011

Torres scored his first goal for Chelsea in a 3-0 win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge.

Statistics, 2010-2011 – Chelsea

1 goal in 18 games

Andre Villas-Boas, Tottenham Hotspur manager, July 22nd 2011

“I don’t want to turn Torres into an obsession like you people are trying to do. I am not going to waste time over this. I disagree that he is lacking in confidence. Every time a player doesn’t score, I am asked questions about him. I agree that Torres is a £50 million striker but my focus is purely on the performance of the team, not the individual.”

Javier Hernandez, Manchester United striker, February 4th 2012

“Fernando Torres is one of the best forwards in Europe, without doubt. But he suffers a bad record in front of goal and I predict that the Spaniard will not score against United this Sunday either.”

Fernando Torres, February 4th 2012

“I would like things to be much better but the support they give me every day is amazing. I remember a game against Wolverhampton and I was on the bench, and they were still singing my name. I’ve been very lucky to live very good moments but that game, when I was in the middle of nothing and not playing, was maybe the best memory I have in all my career.”

Change of manager, March 4th 2012

Andre Villas-Boas was replaced by Roberto Di Matteo as manager of Chelsea.

Fernando Torres, April 24th 2012

“I’m happy to be part of the game, to score the goal, to be in the Champions League final. Obviously it’s a dream come true for all the Chelsea players, for all the Chelsea supporters who’ve come here and everyone watching the game at home. It’s the second Champions League final for Chelsea. Everyone knows what happened in the past with the penalty shoot-out so I think Chelsea deserve a second chance and we have the chance now.”

FA Cup final, May 5th 2012

Torres was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s 2-1 victory over former club Liverpool.

Champions League final, May 19th 2012

Torres came on for the last five minutes of normal time in Chelsea’s Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich, before playing extra time but not taking a penalty.

Statistics, 2011-2012

11 goals in 49 games

Fernando Torres, May 20th 2012

“It’s contradictory because I feel like I’m at a peak moment in my career, with more desire and hunger than I’ve felt in a long time but I’ve had to spend the final on the bench. It was a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest in my life. I thought I would play in this game and I couldn’t imagine not doing so. But in the end I could participate and offer the team something. This season I have felt things that I never had before. I’ve felt like they treated me in a way that I didn’t expect. Not in the way that was spoken of when they signed me. We’ve had a lot of talks and we’ll talk about my future. I want them to tell me what is going to happen in the future. Football has been fair on us, on me. Now I do feel like football is worth it but I’ve been through a difficult time. The worst in my career. I don’t want that again. There’s been many times when I’ve felt lost, I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt like I didn’t know where I belonged.”

Fernando Torres, May 28th 2012

“I had a conversation with the owner of Chelsea and he trusts me. His confidence is total and that is what I needed to keep fighting and continue to be essential for the team. I was left out of the squad and that was tough. I started to understand that things were serious, that I wasn’t getting much playing time with my club and that if things carried on that way, I wouldn’t be going to Euro 2012. Vincente has put his faith in me and now I need to show him I am ready to play whenever he thinks it necessary. I hope to be able to give the team the best of me.”

European Championships, June 2012

Spain finished top of their group, with Torres coming on for the last 15 minutes of their 1-1 draw with Italy, scoring twice in their 4-0 win over Ireland, and being subbed off with an hour played in their 1-0 win over Croatia. He came on for the last 25 minutes in their 2-0 win over France in the quarter-finals but was an unused substitute in their victory over Portugal which was won on penalties. Torres was brought on for the last 15 minutes of the final after Italy went down to ten men on an hour played following an injury to their third substitute, Thiago Motta. Torres scored in Spain’s 4-0 win and won the Golden Boot after scoring the same number of goals as four other players but in less time, after spending most of the tournament on Spain’s bench.

Fernando Torres, July 24th 2012

“I would love to win a Premier League. Hopefully it will happen this year, but for sure we will be challenging for it.”

Fernando Torres t-shirts available for £9.20 ($14.40) from the BFTGT t-shirt shop.