Fernando Torres is a striker who plays for Spain and Chelsea in the English Premier League. Torres has long been heralded as the best attacker in Europe, and his form for Liverpool and Spain seems to back this up – he helped Spain to lift the first major trophy at Euro 2008, whilst Liverpool have become genuine title-contenders since his arrival at Anfield. Torres relies on his pace to get him to the ball first, and one he has the ball he nearly always dispatches it past the goalkeeper with a clinical and cool finish.
Fernando Torres was born on 20th March 1984 in Madrid, Spain. He was the youngest in the family, and dedicates his success to his parents and brother and sister, who had the daily task of taking young Fernando to training! Though he could kick a ball from the age of two, his interest in football really began courtesy of a Spanish cartoon which saw normal boys reach professional football and stardom, aged 5. He played for various youth teams until he was scouted by Atletico Madrid, the team he supported as a boy, when he was just 11.
Even before Fernando had made a first-team appearance for Atletico, people were expecting great things from him. His ability was first recognised internationally after success in the Nike Cup, which pitted the youth teams of all the big clubs of Europe against each other. Atletico won the Cup, beating Juventus on the way to the trophy, and Torres was named as top goal-scorer and the best player in the tournament. Every European club took note.
A win with the Spanish U-16 team, and another ‘Player of the Tournament’ trophy followed, and Fernando was soon called up to train with the first team, making his debut in May 2001, and scoring his first goal a week later. It wasn’t enough to get Atletico promoted to the Primera Liga, and Fernando suffered his first disappointment.
With Torres in the first team the following season, Atletico did get promoted, with Torres’ guile and goals helped the Madrid club to win the second division. Torres adapted to playing in La Liga easily, with some important goals against the likes of Barcelona and Deportivo ensuring he was fast becoming the crowd’s favourite player. His never-say-die attitude enabled him to become a leader on the pitch, and he took over the Atletico captaincy when he was just 19 years old (some said in a bid to ensure Torres stayed at the club!)
More goals in more important matches followed, although Atletico were struggling to build a tam around Torres who matched his ambition. UEFA Cup runs and top-table finishes were all they could hope for. A good World Cup in 2006 led to bids from Chelsea and Newcastle, but Torres decided to stay for at least one more season – he was playing for the club of his dreams. With Atletico again failing to win a place in European competition, Atletico started accepting bids.
Fernando Torres arrived on Merseyside in early July 2007, for a fee of around £20m. The Spanish core of the Liverpool team (Xabi Alonso, Garcia, manager Rafa Benitez) made it easy for Fernando to settle in, and he was soon banging the goals in! He made his debut on August the 11th, but had to wait until his third appearance before he scored the first of what would be 24 league goals, an impressive tally in just 29 matches. He finished second to Cristiano Ronaldo in both the Golden Boot and the PFA Player of the Year Awards.
Victory in Euro 2008 should have been the spring-board for more goals, but Torres had an injury-ravaged first half of the 08/09 season. Liverpool remained in contention for the big prizes, and were glad he returned to action for the business end of the season.
Fernando Torres has been playing internationally for Spain since the age of 15. He has won various U-16 and U-18 tournaments, but had such talent and potential that he was called up to the national first-team when he was just 19. He was a fringe player in Spain’s Euro 2004 campaign, but was in the first-team (ahead of Real Madrid legend Raul) by the time World Cup 2006 came around.
He propelled Spain to victory at Euro 2008, scoring the only goal against Germany in the Final to win Spain’s first ever major trophy. He has a massive part to play in Spain’s future.