You can take the boy out of Atlético, but you can’t take the Atlético out of the boy.
Former Atlético Madrid striker and eternal Colchonero idol Fernando Torres gave a press conference on Wednesday to present his autobiography entitled “Number Nine”.
Never failing to remind the world of his deep-seeded Rojiblanco roots, the Chelsea forward said, “I am lucky to be an ‘Atlético’ and have the great privilege of being protected by my people.
“95 per cent of Atlético Madrid fans consider me one of theirs, that’s what I perceive.”
He continued: “Atlético is my home and I will always feel that way because it taught me how to grow and the values of my life.
“Never having stopped defending the fact that I am an Atlético has cost me a lot of criticism, but I’m not going to change.”
El Niño reminisced about his first goal as a first team Atleti player, which took place back in June 2001 against Albacete when he was only 17 years old. It was his second Primera División match.
“It was a dream come true for me, one I had ever since I joined Atlético at 11 years old,” he said.
The 27-year-old then spoke about the Spanish national team’s slump, assuring that there was no need to worry about the squad’s latest blunders.
The reigning World Cup champions suffered a 1-0 loss to England at Wembley Stadium and a 2-2 draw against lowly Costa Rica in San José this past FIFA break.
“When you speak to opponents they always say we are the team to beat,” he said.
“From these last meetings, we came out with very few positives. The clash against England was very similar to the one against Switzerland in the World Cup, you can’t understand how you could lose, but you lose.
“There isn’t even the slightest bit of concern.”
Fernando is confident Vicente del Bosque will call upon him for the 2012 edition of the UEFA European Football Championship, which kicks off in Poland in June.
“The manager has spoken to me a lot and he has reiterated his trust in me and has said that the majority of the group already put-together is going to the Euro Cup,” he said.
“We will defend the badge and the title.”
Torres was asked if he regretted rushing back from injury in order to participate in the 2010 World Cup.
“I don’t regret it because I wanted to be with that group,” he said.
“I wanted to lift the World Cup trophy.”
These are trying times for the Atlético youth system product. Critics across the globe routinely hit out at him for failing to deliver on the lofty expectations that came with his astronomically expensive move to Stamford Bridge from Anfield.
“Ever since I started with Atlético and on the national team there have always been difficult moments,” Torres said.
“I’m the type of person who blames oneself when something goes wrong. The only key to success is hard work. This is not the first time I experience difficulties or that things don’t go my way, but it is something that will change.
“I have never given up on anything in my life. I feel indebted to Chelsea supporters. They have always supported me.”
The Blues attacker harked back to a happier time in his career: the 2008 Euro Cup final against Germany. Fernando scored the game’s lone goal in the 33rd minute, helping Spain to the continental title.
“It is the most important goal of my career, but hopefully there are still other more important ones left,” he said.
Finally, Fernando gave an overview about his autobiography.
“It’s a book filled with memories,” he said.
“There will be more stories to tell. It’s simply a little, or big summary of things that may be of interest to Atlético fans, non-Atlético fans, fans of football, of Chelsea, or of Liverpool. I didn’t plan on writing a book but my fans asked me to.
“I don’t want to spark controversies with it.”
Do you plan on buying a copy of “Number nine”?