Former Liverpool marksman Fernando Torres has revealed a surprise motivation behind his £50 million move to Chelsea in January 2011, after divulging that Anfield captain Steven Gerrard actively encouraged him to complete his British record transfer to Stamford Bridge.
The Spanish striker's surprise confession is sure to send shockwaves around Merseyside as Reds supporters find out that their current skipper is partly to blame for the loss of one of club's most popular talisman.
Torres paid an emotional tribute to the soon-to-be-departing midfielder - who he credits with having the greatest influence on his professional career - in an interview at the Atletico Madrid foundation, where the 31-year-old was speaking in support of ALS sufferers to raise awareness about the illness.
"There is one player that influenced me above anyone else and that is [Steven] Gerrard," the former Blues flop was quoted by The Sun. "He changed my career, my ambition, the way of raising my targets, wanting to win, he changed everything.
"Even when I was leaving Liverpool he told me 'go, think about yourself. Do what's best for you because you've seen how people are leaving and it's time. You have nothing to prove.'"
As it turned out, Torres's transfer to west London proved to be pretty profligate for all parties after he struggled to reproduce anywhere near the kind of form that had prompted Chelsea to splash the cash on his signature.
But, despite his personal struggles, the former Spain international did win the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League with the Blues before eventually being dumped by Jose Mourinho at the start of the season.
Torres joined AC Milan on a two-year loan deal last August, but after failing to find his form at the San Siro was allowed to move on again at the turn of the year, rejoining boyhood club Atletico Madrid - the team he initially quit to join Liverpool in 2007.
Now that his career has come back round full circle Torres can look back fondly on all of the experiences that have made him the person he is today, and take time to reflect on the individuals that played an important role in helping him to where he is today.
"He [Gerrard] changed the way I saw things telling me that I could get much higher than what I had always thought," added the Colchoneros star. "I'll never find a team-mate like him."
Liverpool fans: What do you make of Steven Gerrard's part played in Fernando Torres's big money move to Chelsea? Does the skipper's stance surprise you or would the Spaniard quit Anfield anyway? Have your say below...
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