Fernando Torres..

Guillem Balague on why Fernando Torres was just never the same after 2010

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Fernando Torres has announced that he will leave Atletico Madrid this summer.

In an emotional statement on Monday, the Spaniard revealed: "This will be my last season at the club. As you can see I am playing very little.

"I felt obliged to inform the supporters. It's not been an easy decision. This is not a day for reproaches.

"It's very difficult to say goodbye for the second time. My aim was to hang up my boots here. I want to keep playing for two, three or five years."

It draws the curtains on what was a fairytale, albeit eventually disappointing, return to the club that Torres holds so dearly.

Torres to leave Atletico in the summer

Nevertheless, just 17 goals across 79 games in the last two seasons has seen him fall below Kevin Gameiro, Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann in the pecking order at the Wanda Metropolitano.

There were flickers of the old Torres brilliance, but he could never produce the consistent performances to win over Diego Simeone.

It is the latest reminder that the Torres who was widely considered the world's finest number nine in 2008 is long gone. For such a loved player as Torres, it's a very sad tale.

Atletico Madrid v Celta de Vigo - La Liga

Balague: Knee operation ruined Torres' career

And while there have been no shortage of theories as to why Torres was never the same after 2010 and his move to Chelsea, Guillem Balague offers one of the most compelling cases.

The Spanish football expert is very close to the 34-year-old and writing for Sky Sports, he offered insight into Torres' final days at Liverpool and his disastrous Chelsea switch.

He penned: "There [Liverpool] he had a year-and-a-half where he was explosive, who was 'in the flow' as sports psychologists call it.

Aston Villa v Liverpool - Premier League

"Everything went fantastically well for him. Everything he tried worked. They were completely in love with him - the likes of Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard. Gerrard was happy to play behind him and provide him the assists to score crucial goals.

"Before the 2010 World Cup, he had his knee operated on. The cartilage. At the time, he said: 'I want to do it because I want to get to the World Cup' and he of course was a regular in the line-up with David Villa too.

"Afterwards I think he felt sorry for having it done because it did affect his performances, especially his pace.

"After 2010 things were difficult for him. Little by little, time caught up with him and the move to Chelsea was pushed by what he considered 'lies' from Liverpool which later on proved to be lies. He didn't feel respected by some of the crucial figures at the time at Liverpool, so eventually he decided to move to Chelsea.

Vitesse Arnhem v Chelsea - Pre Season Friendly

"He had been at clubs where the link to them had been beyond just a professional one. At Chelsea, I remember visiting him a couple of times at the training ground and it was mostly a group of professionals together.

"Not so much that extra sense of belonging you get at Atletico Madrid and at Anfield."

Sad to hear, no doubt about it.

Football fans can only hope that, no matter where Torres sees out his career, El Nino provides a departing moment of magic for old time's sake.

Do you think Torres should have stayed at Liverpool? Have your say in the comments section below.

Fernando Torres
Spain Football
La Liga

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