Óliver: “I hope I never wake up from this dream”

Atlético's budding star opened up about the pressures of his quick rise to fame

atletico midfielder oliver torres

Óliver has been the star of Atlético's summer so far

Teenage Atlético cantera product Óliver Torres is creating quite the buzz among the Colchonero faithful.

An in-depth interview of the 17-year-old that appeared in Marca on Sunday is just another testament to the attention he has commanded on the back of his dazzling play in the recent U-19 European Championship with title-winners Spain – coupled with his superb displays in early pre-season action with Atleti.

A shy young boy, ‘Oli’ has revealed that it’s been somewhat uncomfortable dealing with the shine of the spotlight, though he assures he is living out his dream.

Below is an excerpt from the interview conducted by Marca’s Luis Aznar on Sunday, the entirety of which can be found here.

“My dream was to debut with Atlético’s first team and finally, I’ve been able to achieve that,” he told the Madrid-based paper.

“Plus, I’ve even played in the Calderón. Hopefully one day I can do it in an official match. I hope I never wake up from this dream.”

On all the media attention

“My life has changed for the better, but also, in some areas, for the worse. I don’t like to appear on TV or in the newspapers, but I know these are things I have to get used to. I’m very happy about everything that’s happening to me. Not so long ago at all I was on my Juvenil team, we had won the league, but I was a nobody. Now, I’ve won a European [Championship] and I’ve been called-up to Atlético’s first team.”

When asked if he’s stopped on the street by fans, the youngster responded: “The truth is that no. People still don’t know who I am. I hope one day they do because I have done something, because I still haven’t done anything important.

“I want to gain promotion with the reserve side, but if things go well and ‘El Cholo’ feels it’s better for me to be on the first team, then I’ll be there hopefully.”

On his arrival to Atleti as a young boy

“I left my home at a very early age, without my parents or anything. I’m very happy though for the decisions I made at that time, because they are the ones helping me fulfill my dream. I was only 11 years old and didn’t know anything. Now I think about it and I say to myself: ‘What was I doing there by myself if I spent the nights crying and I didn’t know anyone?’

The family I stayed with treated me incredibly. That being said, when my parents came to visit, you can imagine, I would cry for hours until they would leave and I would ask them to stay. My parents would act strong when we’d talk on the phone, that’s normal, but I know they didn’t like it at all that I had decided to leave; but because they are my parents and they love me, they accepted what I wanted even though I was only 11 years old. In the end, look, everyone’s happy because of what I am experiencing now.”

The midfielder recalled the first time he trained with the senior Rojiblancos, shortly after Simeone had replaced Gregorio Manzano as head coach.

“It was curious because I had never trained [with the first team],” he said.

“One day, we were playing an exhibition match against the first team and, while we were playing, Cholo stopped the practice and said: ‘Óliver, get over here with us’. I was surprised and got home very happy. The next day, Carlos Aguilera called me and told me that I had been called-up to the first team against Betis. Imagine how I felt.”

When asked about how it felt to be on the bench for that official game in Sevilla, Oli said:

“I was nervous but at the same time very excited. You get to feel what it’s like to be in the dressing room with everyone. I didn’t know what to do but Cholo calmed me down and told me that if I play, to play as if I were with the Juveniles and to just enjoy it. The truth is I enjoyed it even though I didn’t play and despite the match not being a very good one for the team.”

The following clash, a critical one in our Champions League qualification fight, was at our home stadium—an encounter that Torres also suited-up for.

“To arrive at the Calderón is incredible,” he reminisced.

“The biggest reward a player can have in football is for the people to love you, and in those moments, you feel loved. What is felt on the football field is something that cannot be explained, you just have to experience it for yourself. It’s spectacular.”

The starlet elaborated on his quick rise to the top following his acclaimed performance and crucial role in Spain’s title-winning UEFA U-19 European Championship campaign, arriving to pre-season in Majadahonda as the big man on campus and even immediately featuring as a starter in some of our summer friendlies.

“Right now, I’m getting closer to some of my team-mates and I try to feel as if I were one of them, respecting our distances, of course,” he said.

“I am trying to learn the most from all of them to get to where they are. Canteranos are the ones who have approached me the most, such as Mario or Gabi, for example. But even the very Falcao pumps us youngsters up a lot, not just me.”

Óliver admitted that having Saúl and Kader around helps him to “not feel alone”.

On the first friendly against Gimnástica Segoviana

“When I came back from the European Championship and people knew who I was I didn’t know what to do,” he said.

“I was stunned. Then came my debut, with the people yelling my name, that was another great feeling. It was incredible. I have no words. I framed the shirt from that day. It’s at my house. The other two, from the first call-ups last season, I also took home with me but I did not play with those so it excited me more to frame the one I actually sweated for the first time. It’s more special.”

Asked if Simeone has spoken to him about his future, specifically, whether or not he will remain with the senior team from the start of the upcoming campaign or simply be promoted to Atlético B, Oliver said:

“I am very happy with everything that is happening and, if these matches offer Simeone a chance to monitor me, well, that would be even better. He hasn’t told me anything, but I know this is a reward for me and I am aware of what my role is. Things like this give you the hope you need to continue working day-to-day to be able to experience this every day of your life.”

On rejecting offers to go to the Premiere League

“When I began in the Infantil A category at Atlético, it was an incredible feeling,” he said.

“My whole family wanted me to be here and to triumph at this club one day, so, I spoke to my agent and I told him that what I wanted now was a good project like the one I have been offered here.”

The teen made it clear he’d rather stay at Atleti this season as opposed to joining another Primera División outfit on loan.

“If it’s up to me, I want to stay and triumph here at Atlético, but I am an employee of the club and if they feel that I need to [go out on loan] then I will do it. Either way, those are the types of decisions that must be made by those at the top, not by me.

“It’s clear. My goal right now is to start on the first team in an oficial match.”

  • yon

    He just gets better and better in every possible way!

  • 7th

    he is gonna force koke to leave ateltico.

  • yon

    hopefully koke can slot in as a slightly more defensive player next to Gabi or something!

  • Shay

    What a great kid!! Hope he’ll get what he wants and become a star for Atletico (without forcing Koke to leave) …

  • Dircil

    no prob, Koke will play as ZM and Oliver as AM

  • Ringo Schut

    I remember when Germán Pacheco and Pedro made people feel like they had a great starlet at their favorite team.
    But this seems to be REAL gold, although nothing could be said yet, at this point.
    I would say Koke shouldn’t fear for his spot, but I’m not sure if Simeone wants to use him as CM yet. He could play as winger, though, but he needs to gain experience as defensive and deep lying playmaker.
    And with all the (experienced) CMs here, at the moment, who will probably play more games, it might be best to loan him out, for half a season or a full one.
    I’m sure he could gain a starting place for some of the La Liga teams already.

  • Shay

    @Ringo: I remember that too.
    I also remember Ibrahima Balde showing some promise and even playing some minutes.. “And he was never heard from again…” 🙂

  • ali_

    balde was shit imo. he bearly could control the ball. on the other hand i still dont understand what happened with pacheco. he was good on friendly matches, also in the b team. ok he wasnt that good in rayo, but i really tought that he could be our next top striker.

  • Ringo

    he wasn’t that great in B, if I remember correctly… Didn’t get many chances for Rayo and then he went back to Argentina, first on loan and after that permanent, I believe, but I don’t know to which club.

    Ibra showed some promise at in the Segunda, but he’s injured now, right? He could grow into a pretty good one.
    Seemed like someone who wasn’t too useful when his skills were too rough, but afterwards could somehow surprise everyone.
    Could be wrong, though, plus the growth should still be made. Physically is pretty good already, though.

    What about Cedric? Has he returned to his positive spiral yet?

  • Lubo

    Ibra was actually pretty good with Osasuna last year, also had some kind of injury that suspended him for some time. But now he was sold to Rubin (I think). He was that kind of powerful forward, with no technique. But I think he has some future ahead of him.

  • @Lubo
    He was sold to Kuban Krasnodar in Russia. But he does have not a bright future but a descent future ahead of him, I wish him good luck in the future

  • Shalak

    Ohhh German Pacheco scored a great goal against Arsenal.. he was a special striker! I don’t know why he’s leaving :/
    anyway, what about Kader guys ?? some info ??

  • Willen

    According to wikipedia, Germán Pacheco had two seasons on loan in Argentina. After that, he was released by Atlético and signed for a Ukrainian club and is now playing in Peru.

    It doesn’t seem he’s having easy moments. 🙁

    Club Atlético de Madrid B España 2010
    Club Atlético Independiente Argentina 2010
    Gimnasia y Esgrima de La Plata Argentina 2011
    FK Karpaty Lviv Ucrania 2011
    Unión Comercio Perú 2012 – Actualidad

  • Javi Lozoya

    Pacheco is now at Peru with Comercio. He has scored some goals. I think why he didn’t lived up to expectations was because he got promoted instantly from the juvenil A to the first team without having enough appearances for the B team. He did showed bright things for the first team, like his goal against Arsenal in the Emirates Cup. The problem was like I said, not having played enough matches for the B team, the useless loans to Rayo, and also when he was with the first team, they didn’t gave him confidence enough.
    Oliver is not going to turn like Pacheco, Keko, or Ibra because he is much more technical, sees more mature and it’s just simply better. Plus he has Simeone’s confidence.
    As for Ibra Balde, we should’ve traded him for Konate, another mistake by Atleti’s scouts. Konate seems to have a better future than Ibra would ever have despite being only 19. Yet, another mistake by Atleti’s scouts is not signing Konate. What are they waiting for?.

  • starvs

    This kid is on another level from previous youth products, probably since the original Torres.

    His intelligence on the ball is great, he almost never, possibly actually never, gives the ball away. His long passing is impeccable due to both keen accuracy and vision. Could use a little more physical growth, but you know, he’s 17….

  • Javi Lozoya

    Oliver is a creative midfielder, Fernando is a striker…

  • starvs

    Thank you for pointing that out Javi, I made all those observations about his attributes without realizing what position he played. Man I should pay more attention!

  • leika

    I’ve got a strange feeling that if we ever happen to sell Falcao, we will do our everything to get Fernando Torres back from Chelsea. 2 Torreses could be beast 🙂 And btw where are the rumours about Quaresma? I used to love that guy when he was playing in Porto. But I guess his ego got in the way and he didn’t get on well with the coaches. But after leaving Porto he is desperately looking for a new beginning and maybe Cholo could turn him into a beast he used to be.

  • Ringo

    That’s the problem.
    A great goal against Arsenal. One thing.
    Oliver shows great play, which gives much more insight about his consistency and skill.
    We already knew what kind of player Ibra is.
    A physical one.
    His technique could grow, I personally think he could have grown into a great asset, not a starplayer, but a very useful one, perhaps the much needed third striker.

    Wonder if all three of Koke, Saul and Oliver fulfill their promise. With Borja, Manquillo and Kader as outsiders for big roles in the future.

  • Dircil

    @leika: haha, agree with u. If we have some money to spare, I would love to have either Quaresma or Diego in our squad

  • Hey guys Just a Feeling.
    Let us say Chelsea don’t win a trophy in the next few seasons and Torres wants to leave Chelsea and his contracts expires soon. Do you think Atleti would buy him. I hope they do IF this happens. I love Torres he impressed at us a few years ago. And he would still be pretty young

    Just A Feeling, thought and opinion. What you all think.
    Do you want him to come back??

  • Croatia Atletista

    @Randy Torres said he wants to play again at Atleti and finish his career here so I see that scenario happening with no problem

  • Shay

    @Randy German:
    Its my dream to bring back Torres.. Would be the Greatest day of my life

  • You know Athletic Bilbao are letting Llorente leave the club he would’ve been a great signing but his buy-out clause is
    36 million euros. Damn he would be another dream signing but we are a mediocre club which means mediocre signings 🙁

  • yon

    Seeing alot of links today saying we are approaching Bruno Alves and he would be very happy to play here…….by “we” I mean Mendes has convinced our board to waste money on a player that I don’t think we need!

  • Arjit

    If he comes on the cheap it could be a good signing for us! He’s coming off the back of a solid euro 12.

  • Shalak

    all what we need is a sub center back, to replace Dominguez.. and SS to replace Eduardo Salvio, what about Giovani Dos Santos? he is great and better than Toto!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Awful news today at Atleti’s training camp, young GK David Gil collapsed, but he is okay right now. They’re going to do some tests. Hopefully is nothing serious.

  • Arjit

    wow that’s bad, hope he’s ok. And I think cata will be a decent back-up, but if godin leaves, i personally want bruno.

  • yon

    If we are as financially strapped as we believe then there is no way we should get Bruno Alves, Mendes will be involved which is never cheap! Plus he is old so we ain’t gonna be making any money back on him!

  • Arjit

    Well I was hoping it would be something like 6mill max. but I personally rate him pretty highly so I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you think that’s too high. Also, 30 isn’t bad for defender, many world class defenders maintained their form well into their 30s (not saying Bruno is truly world class, but he’s very good, definitely good enough represent atletico)

  • yon

    I see and appreciate your point, I could understand a rich club making the move, but a club like us with apparently no money, id rather invest any we do have on youth, rather than paying a fee like that and high wages for 4 years!

  • Ringo

    Do you guys think Oliver should be loaned out? Not sure if he’ll get enough playing time here, but might at clubs like Getafe…

  • Ringo

    Personally I think one of Koke and Oliver should be loaned out, with the other as first sub or starting place.

  • Arjit

    It always seems like a good idea but our young guys never end up playing, the teams have no obligation to play our players. So many players we send out on loan every year and we rarely hear back from them. Only last year it was Diego costa and Raul Garcia, but then again they’re fully developed players.

  • Javi Lozoya

    It would be a good idea if Oliver, Koke, Saul or even Manquillo go out on a loan, but yeah, only if they are guaranteed playing time. Maybe not to a Primera team but a Segunda.
    In Oliver’s case, he might or might play at all, but Cholo seems to thrust in him. We all hope he gets some minutes. Oliver could also and probably will play with the B team and help them push to the play offs and who knows, hopefully they finally get promoted to the segunda. That’ll help Oliver gain more experience and more physique.
    Koke I believe is gonna get minutes, not sure if plenty, hopefully he plays more than last season. Saul I think needs to be loaned to a segunda team. He has spent a significant time with the B team, and I thinks it’s time to experience higher football. Seems he won’t have too many minutes with the first team. Manquillo as well.
    The one I’m worried about is Pulido. Over the last seasons he has played not enough matches, and this year seems likely he won’t get enough playing time. He wanted to be loaned away but supposedly Simeone didn’t let him.
    I just hope he gets plenty of minutes. The board should’ve search a team for him that guarantees him minutes.

  • Arjit

    We should just insert some kind of clause to give a player a certain amount of minutes over the season while the player’s on loan. Also, I would like oliver to stay, when he doesn’t play with us he can play for the B team. I don’t want us to be short of creative/inventive players especially if raul garcia fails to live up to his promise. Koke over tiago/suarez this year for sure, I’m positive he’ll get some good minutes.