Fernando Torres set a new British transfer record when he moved from Liverpool to Chelsea for a fee of around £50 million (US$79.5 million).
The move demonstrated Torres’ ruthless ambition in wanting to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
He eventually outgrew home town club Atletico Madrid, moving to Liverpool in 2007. And after three trophyless seasons at Anfield, he again felt it was time to move on.
He produced just one goal in his first half season at Chelsea and that was an indicator of things to come, with Torres never truly looking himself in a Blues shirt.
- Name: Fernando Torres
- Nationality: Spanish
- Date and Place of Birth: March 20, 1984 in Madrid, Spain
- Position: Striker
- Current Club: Chelsea (Premier League)
- Previous Clubs: Atletico Madrid (2001-2007), Liverpool (2007-2011)
- International Career: 2003 to present
El Nino (The Kid) joined Atletico as an 11-year-old and rejected a move to city rivals Real Madrid after turning 12.
Atletico Madrid fans were desperate to see the player, of whom they had heard so much, make his debut and he did that as a 17-year-old.
In his second match against Albacete, Torres provoked two red cards and scored the winner.
He scored 75 times in 173 games for Atleti, twice finishing as the highest scoring Spaniard in La Liga.
Accused of missing too many chances in his time at the Vicente Calderon, Torres was not looked upon fondly by everyone, and has come under fire in England after initially impressing at Liverpool.
The estimated US$40 million spent by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez on the striker almost doubled the previous club record outlay on Frenchman Djibril Cisse.
Torres’ first goal for the club came on his Anfield debut in a 1-1 draw with current employers Chelsea when he slotted the ball in the bottom right corner after being fed by Steven Gerrard.
He ended the campaign with 29 league goals and 40 in all competition. With Thierry Henry having left the league for Barcelona, many felt that a genuinely world class player had filled the void, ensuring that English soccer could boast a new heavyweight.
Torres’ regrets about his time at Anfield will be the persistent injuries he picked up and his failure to win a trophy with the Reds.
His hamstrings have been particularly troubling in recent seasons, and Liverpool struggled when either he or Gerrard were ruled out.
On March 9, 2009, Torres produced an inspired performance at Old Trafford, scoring the first and turning Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic inside out as Liverpool triumphed 4-1. But they came up just short in the league, finishing second, and that is the closest Torres came to a trophy with the Reds.
The move to Chelsea has failed to revitalize Torres, whose finishing and all-round play have been a pale imitation of what he produced for Atletico and Liverpool. The striker has nonetheless contributed to triumphs in the Champions League, Europa League (in which he netted in the final) and FA Cup, but his spell at Chelsea has been more memorable for the extended goal droughts than exceptional forward play.
Torres represented Spain at under 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 21 levels, before making his senior debut against Portugal in 2003.
He was Spain’s top scorer in 2006 World Cup qualifying, but his finest moment to date was the Euro 2008 final against Germany when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win and was also named man of the match. He was not among Spain’s star performers in that tournament, but produced when it really mattered.
Torres came in for criticism for his performances in the 2010 World Cup, where it appeared that Spain had won the tournament despite him, rather than because of him. He failed to score as the likes of David Villa and Andres Iniesta stole the limelight.
Euro 2012 proved more fruitful, with two goals against the Republic of Ireland in the group stages and another against Italy in the final as he edged out Germany’s Mario Gomez for the Golden Boot and won his second European Championship.