Fernando Torres has come close to costing Atletico Madrid in the Champions League. Twice.
In the quarter-final first leg at Barcelona, Atleti were forced to play 55 minutes with 10 men after Torres’ early red card.
And in Tuesday’s semi-final second leg against Bayern Munich, the Spaniard missed a penalty in the 84th minute that left Diego Simeone’s team facing a nervy conclusion.
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Is Torres on a secret mission to sabotage Madrid’s Champions League dreams? What’s next, an open-goal miss in the final akin to the one he produced for Chelsea at Old Trafford in 2011?
Joking aside, Torres will be the first to admit that he could have done more in recent games - he even took responsibility for the 2-1 defeat at the Camp Nou - but, fortunately, his teammates have turned Torres’s mistakes into light-hearted banter.
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As they trudged off the Vicente Calderon turf on Tuesday, Saul Niguez trolled the striker about missing the penalty.
“He wanted to make us suffer a bit more,” Niguez tells the camera.
Watch Torres’ response in the video below (Scroll to 3:44)
The former Liverpool striker hits back with: “We’ll save the goal for the final.” (Translation provided by 101GreatGoals)
Madrid supporters will hold Torres to that. He hasn’t scored in his past four games but there will be no better stage for the 32-year-old to be remembered eternally by Madrid’s fans than by scoring in the Champions League final against the Rojiblancos’ fiercest rivals.
Torres, who won the competition with Chelsea four years ago, was bullish as he discussed Atleti’s hopes of exacting revenge on the team who beat them in the final in 2014.
“It was very intense. We are so proud of this team and group of players. It’s fully deserved. We beat some good teams and we’re one step closer to the dream we all have,” Torres said, per BT Sport.
“You cannot play the game you want. In the first half we couldn’t press high and stop the transition. They were win control and we suffered a lot.
“We had the chance to have counter attacks and that’s how we get the goal. After we couldn’t handle them pressing high.
“The most important thing is we’re in the final. We have a chance to write history.
“It does’t matter the opponent. We are ready, We have beaten the champions of Holland, Spain and Germany. We are ready.”
Tough route to the San Siro
The win over Bayern, secured via away goals following a 2-2 aggregate scoreline, followed victory against the holders, Barcelona, in the quarter-final.
Simeone’s side also knocked out PSV Eindhoven in the round-of-16.
So nobody can accuse Atleti of having an easy route to the final.
They come up against a Real side that has tasted defeat just once since February 27.
But Simeone’s well-drilled team has a knack for frustrating even the finest architects in Europe. Cristiano Ronaldo and co. are in for a gruelling final.