It was a day that many fans had been waiting for – and one that many thought might not come. It’s a fairy tale return for Fernando Torres, who was welcomed back to the Vicente Calderón on Sunday afternoon by an estimated 40,000 fans.
2,742 days after Torres announced he was to leave Atlético to join Liverpool, El Niño finally returns home.
At a media event held in the VIP Lounge at the Vicente Calderón, Enrique Cerezo presented Torres to the assembled press, handing him the number 19 shirt.
“Since the day you left, everyone at Atlético has been waiting for this. A day where we welcome back a player who so perfectly represents Atlético Madrid,” the president told hundreds in attendance.
“We know that you will give us your all for the rest of the season – and you will help us stay in the great position we are now.”
“We hope your second spell at Atlético Madrid is marked by great success.”
Fernando thanked everyone involved in bringing him home before being presented with number 19, the number Diego Costa wore last season.
“When I was 24-years-old I learned something difficult. I needed to leave Atlético so the club could grow and the club has done that. It was the toughest moment of my career. The club has grown and time has proven us right in that decision. I’ve also won trophies, I want to win more and can do that here,” Torres said.
El Niño also touched on two of the contributing factors that made him want to return.
“Cholo – he’s been very important for me. He knows the club, the team and I know him well. He was very demanding as a team-mate, and now even more so. I hope to learn quickly and be in the side when he needs me,” he said of his now manager, Diego Simeone.
“I was lacking something that excited me in football, and I could only find that here. Atlético needed some reinforcement in attack and thanks to God, I’m it. The club and I worked on whether it was feasible and we all pulled in the same direction to get it done.”
“Once everyone was in agreement, it wasn’t a difficult decision for me. I’ve dreamed this could be a reality for a long time now.”
Torres got changed, and headed out onto the pitch alongside his young children to be welcomed by the adoring Atlético fans.