Fernando Torres - Player Profile

El Nino Returns Home

Personal information 
Full name: Fernando Jose Torres Sanz
Date of birth: 20 March 1984
Age: 30
Place of birth: Fuenlabrada, Spain
Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position: Striker

Club information 
Current team: Atletico Madrid
(On loan from AC Milan)
Number: 19

Youth career 
1995–2001: Atletico Madrid

Senior career
2001–2007 Atletico Madrid 244 Appearances, 91 goals
2007–2011 Liverpool 142 Appearances, 81 goals
2011– Chelsea 172 Appearances, 45 goals
2014– → AC Milan (loan) 10 Appearances, 1 goal

National team
2000 Spain U15 1 Appearances, 0 goals
2001 Spain U16 9 Appearances, 11 goals
2001 Spain U17 4 Appearances, 1 goal
2002 Spain U18 1 Appearances, 1 goal
2002 Spain U19 5 Appearances, 6 goals
2002–2003 Spain U21 10 Appearances, 3 goals
2003– Spain 110 Appearances, 38 goals

Fernando Torres has rejoined Atletico Madrid more than 17 years after he played his first game for them, a tall, skinny 13-year-old with freckles who had recently joined the club’s youth system. After Chelsea formalised his switch to AC Milan, the Serie A side confirmed he will join Atletico on loan until 2016, when his contract at Stamford Bridge was due to expire.

It is seven and a half years since Torres left for Liverpool. His mind was made up after a soulless 6-0 defeat that confirmed a trend in which Atletico headed from crisis to crisis, never winning anything and never looking like winning anything either. The surprise, the club’s sporting director admitted, was not Torres had departed but that he had stayed so long. He was still young but he had completed his seventh season in the first team. He had scored 91 goals but also had outgrown them.

Some will conclude the roles have been reversed. Under Diego Simeone, Atletico have won the Europa League, the Copa del Rey, and the league, and reached the final of the Champions League, in the past three years. Torres became an idol of Anfield, scoring 54 goals in his first three seasons. He finished third in the Ballon d’Or but he arrives home having scored once in 10 games at Milan and Chelsea were keen to get rid of him. Last season he scored five league goals and the seasons before that he got eight, six and one. It is hard to do justice to how much Torres means to Atletico and their supporters. He is from Fuenlabrada, south of Madrid, and played his first competitive game for them aged 17 in May 2001. He will probably play his last competitive game for them, too. He is 30 now but here he will always be “El nino”.

In 2000, Atletico were relegated for the first time. The then owner Jesus Gil described it as “one little year in hell” but it turned out to be two. Torres made his debut in hell, light amid the darkness – the hope to which they clung. They won promotion and he scored 75 goals in the five La Liga seasons that followed. If they did not progress, it was not because of him and when he departed most understood. He was still one of them. This decision to return has not been built solely on romance, which is not to say that there is no romance. The emotional component is important: the hope is that in finding his place, Torres can find himself again. This decision feels right; others did not. Torres admitted that leaving Liverpool, or indeed anyone, mid-season was “inadvisable”. The way it was handled hurt too – Liverpool were in “chaos”, Torres said, and he was right. There was institutional uncertainty and the team who suited him so well was dismantled. Rafael Benítez had gone, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano left, and when Torres did likewise the blame was turned on him. “The fans were poisoned, sold a story that was not true,” he said. And so he went to Stamford Bridge; where he rarely seemed to fit in. Torres admits he has had a more “secondary” role than he would have liked but there have been trophies at Chelsea. So too with Spain – world and double European champions, it was Torres’ goal that finally won them a major tournament, 44 years later. Simeone has taken all of that into account. He has watched, analysed and stayed in touch with his former team-mate. He believes Torres can add something to his side, that he still has much to contribute. He reckons the right team, environment and style, could still suit him.

Atletico have evolved this season but that run into space, lost with the departure of Diego Costa, is a weapon Simeone would like to recover and Torres is a player Atletico have wanted to recover too from the day he left.