Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres has named Juan Mata as one of the most important teammates of his entire career.
In an lengthy conversation with journalist Carlos Matallanas, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2014, Torres singled out the current Manchester United star who he played alongside for both Chelsea and the Spanish national team.
However, it was Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard who Torres cites as the most important teammate of his entire career, because it was the former England international who changed his ambition and even encouraged him to join Chelsea in January 2011.
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Torres names Mata and Gerrard
“There have been others like [Juan] Mata in Chelsea, who has been very important for me. but there is someone who is above all and that is Steven Gerrard because he changed my career,” Torres revealed in the 17-minute interview. “My ambition, the way of raising my goals, the way of wanting to win, because he changed my career.”
Torres spent two-and-a-half-years playing alongside Mata at Stamford Bridge before the latter was sold to Manchester United for £37.1 million in January 2014.
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Torres seals emotional return to Atletico
Eight months later, Torres would complete a two-year loan move to AC Milan, before the deal was made permanent in January.
Two days later came the moment Torres and many Atletico Madrid supporters had been waiting many years for: the Spanish striker sealed a return, albeit on loan, to the Vicente Calderon.
Thousands of fans packed into Atletico Madrid’s home stadium to welcome home ’El Niño’, eight years after he left the Calderon for Liverpool.
Torres has looked motivated under the charismatic Diego Simeone, but it’s clear that his best years are now well behind him.
In 19 appearances for Atleti, Torres has scored four goals, although the club’s supporters will always regard him as a bonafide club legend regardless of what he achieves between now and the end of the season.
In fact, Torres will always hold a special place in the hearts of every Spaniard, thanks to his performances for La Roja during the best period in the Spanish national team’s history.
It was Torres who scored the winning goal in the Euro 2008 final against Germany in Vienna, while he also helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, where he finished the tournament as the competition’s joint-top scorer.
While his fall from grace was unexpected and somewhat dramatic, Fernando Torres is undoubtedly one of the great strikers of his era.
How do you think history will remember Fernando Torres? Have your say in the comments below!