Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has revealed his frustration at the nickname ‘El Niño’ and how it was the bane of his introduction to professional football.
Torres was handed the moniker when he joined the Atletico Madrid first team as a precocious 16-year-old and it has stuck all the way through moves to Liverpool and current club Chelsea.
Torres was a teenage sensation when he broke into the Atleti first XI, which led to the nickname – it means ‘the kid’ in Spanish – but his early success, he reveals, actually made life difficult for him.
He was unlikely to suffer a similar fate to the one he describes below when joining the dressing room at Stamford Bridge, which was littered with Chelsea legends from the Jose Mourinho days.
“When I was 16 and arrived in Atletico's dressing room, nobody wanted to talk to me because they were threatened,” he told the official Chelsea website.
“They called me "El Nino" because nobody knew my name. I didn't like it and it shouldn't be like that, but dressing rooms are very complicated with players coming from different parts of the world and with different roles.”
Torres was referring to this because of the differing experience he had when moving to the dressing room at Anfield and the help he was given by compatriot Pepe Reina.
“I remember when I first came to Liverpool, Pepe Reina helped with everything and he made it easy for me,” he added.
“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.”
Torres also talked up the camaraderie he feels in the Chelsea squad and admitted it helped having fellow Spaniards Juan Mata, Oriol Romeu and Cesar Azpilicueta – for whom he did his best to make comfortable when they joined.
He may well be feeling at home with the Blues, but this hasn’t helped his form on the pitch since the switch from Anfield and he has suffered long periods of poor form.