- Full name Fernando Torres
- Birth date March 20, 1984
- Birth place Fuenlabrada, Madrid, Spain
- Current age 31 years 256 days
- Height 6 ft 1 in
One of world football's most feared strikers, Fernando Torres has extensive pedigree for club and country and, while he has suffered from injury, he oozes class when he is on the pitch.
Appropriately for a player nicknamed El Nino ('The Kid'), Torres has set tongues wagging from a very early age. After coming through the ranks at Atletico Madrid he became the club's youngest ever player in May 2001 and was later installed as their youngest ever captain at the age of 19. However, despite his admirable loyalty over a period of six years, Torres was finally lured to Anfield in the summer of 2007 for a fee of around £21.5 million, just weeks after 'You'll Never Walk Alone' was seen inscribed on his captain's armband at Atleti.
Taking the No.9 shirt vacated by Robbie Fowler, Torres adapted seamlessly and scored 33 goals in his first season to surpass the tally set by Ruud van Nistelrooy to become the most prolific foreign debutant in English football. He maintains a hugely-impressive strike rate at Liverpool and his consistently electric performances in his three seasons at Anfield saw him become one of world football's finest players.
When Roy Hodgson replaced Rafa Benitez at Liverpool in 2010, Torres' form began to drop. He had already endured a hugely disappointing World Cup in South Africa, where despite claiming a winners' medal with Spain he had failed to score and was dropped from the starting line-up having not fully regained match sharpness for the tournament.
As Liverpool struggled under Hodgson, Torres looked a shadow of his former self, aside from a match-winning brace against Chelsea. The Spaniard had regularly pledged his future to the Reds and signed a new five-and-a-half-year deal in summer 2010, but with three days left of the 2011 January transfer window, he sent shock waves reverberating around Anfield by handing in a transfer request after a bid from Chelsea for him was rejected. On January 31, 2011, Torres became the fourth-most expensive player of all time when he moved to Stamford Bridge for £50 million.
Torres needed until April 23 to score his first goal for Chelsea, netting from close range against West Ham, and failed to settle at Chelsea until Roberto Di Matteo took charge after Andre Villas-Boas' disastrous reign. With his old confidence slowly returning, Torres helped Chelsea win the 2012 Champions League title, scoring the decisive goal in their semi-final victory against Barcelona.
Strengths: A born goalscorer, Torres possesses all the attributes needed by a world-class striker. He is quick, strong, impressive in the air, blessed with expert technique and is cool and collected in front of goal as well as having an eye for the spectacular.
Weaknesses: The suspicion remains that Torres can be distracted from his task by some physical attention from defenders, while he can be isolated if service is not forthcoming.
Career high: Scoring the winning goal in the Euro 2008 final against Germany as Spain ended their lengthy wait for a trophy on the international stage.
Career low: Failing to help Atletico Madrid regain their place in the Spanish top flight on the final day of his first season in the first team. Atleti's slogan, conceived after their relegation the previous season, of 'One Little Year In Hell' had to be quickly scrapped.
Style: Clinical, classy, deadly, the complete striker.
Quotes: "When you talk about the Premier League you talk about a lot of players with quality so it is not easy to pick just one, but he is among the best." Rafael Benitez, September 2009.
Trivia: Torres actually started off as a goalkeeper in his early days but quickly became a formidable striker, being named the best Under-14 player in Europe following his performances at the 1998 Nike Cup.
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