Fernando Torres is a professional Spanish footballer who has spent the last seven years playing in the English teams Liverpool and Chelsea. Nicknamed in Spain “el niño” (the boy), he has a place in the heart of Spanish football supporters, despite his ups and downs, and especially the fans of his home team Atlético Madrid.
Torres was born in the Madrid region and started playing football as a small child, often in the position of goalkeeper. When he was seven years old he played regularly as a striker in local leagues. At 10 he scored 55 goals in one season, earning himself a trial with Atlético Madrid where he joined the club’s youth scheme at the age of 11 in 1995. At the age of 15 he was voted the best player in Europe of his age-group and he made his debut appearance for Atletico’s first team in 2001 at the age of 17. His nickname referred to his age, blond hair and fresh-faced appearance, but it has stayed with him to his current 30 years of age.
After a spectacular footballing career with Atlético Madrid, Torres was transferred to Liverpool for a record fee in the region of 25 million pounds. His prowess continued at Liverpool where he scored more than 20 league goals in his first season and became the fastest player in Liverpool history to reach a score of 50 league goals. Torres was transferred to Chelsea in 2011 for 50 million pounds, making him the most expensive Spanish player in history. However, his record at Chelsea has never lived up to his earlier achievements and he has received much criticism for his comparatively low level of goal-scoring. In April 2013 Torres acknowledged his struggles at Chelsea, saying: “I want to do the things I used to do. I did them at Atlético, I did them at Liverpool, but I am not doing them at Chelsea”.
As an international player Torres is one of two players to have held the Champions League, Europa League, World Cup and the European Championships simultaneously. He made his mark on the international scene as a youth player and joined the Spanish national team in 2008. He won his 100th cap against Saudi Arabia on 7 September 2012, making him the sixth highest capped player for Spain and was selected by Vicente Del Bosque’s for the UEFA Euro 2012 team.
He has been described as having “an eye for the spectacular and is a technically proficient, highly successful striker”. His speed is widely acknowledged to be the main strength of his game, and he has relied on this to score most of his goals. However, he has lost much of his quickness owing to a succession of knee and hamstring injuries.
There have been recent rumours of Fernando Torres’ return to his roots at Atlético Madrid where supporters have never lost their affection for “el niño” even when he has been playing against them at their ground Vicente Calderón. He has always claimed that he would like to return to Altético, saying: “I don’t know if I will retire there, but I would like to go back and finish some things that are left to do.”