Fernando Torres: The Teenage Phenom Who Became One Of The Best Strikers of The 21st Century

Fernando Torres

Fernando Torres is one of the preeminent and most successful football players of the 21st century. The Spaniard had a stellar club career across Europe’s toughest football leagues and won it all with the incredible Spanish National Team as well. In this post, we will take a look at the life and career of Fernando Torres. Let’s get started.

Fernando Torres: All You Need To Know

When did Fernando Torres make his club debut?

In the 65th minute, at the Vicente Calderón stadium, Carlos García Cantarero, then coach of Atletico de Madrid, who was fighting to get up to the First Division in a race against time, made Fernando Torres’s debut, three weeks before top scorer, best player and champion European U16 with the Spanish team. He entered the field for Jose Juan Luque to the acclaim of the public.

“Everyone was excited that he would make his debut now, and I was going to put him to play. I understood that his incorporation could help us break up a thick game, and besides, nothing else was worth it other than winning”, the coach recalled in an interview with EFE. It was the beginning of everything that came after. So, he was 17 years old. “Many things came true at that time. It was a dream that he had from a very young age,”.

When did Fernando Torres score his first goal?

A week after his debut, he scored his first goal with Atlético. When the score, 0-0, rushed in search of three essential points in Albacete to have a chance at promotion, Iván Amaya crossed into the area from three quarters of the field for the incontestable header by ‘Niño’, unattainable for Valbuena.

The great goal against Betis

“I thought I could head in, I saw the ball much longer, it was the only chance I had and it went well”, said Fernando Torres on November 2, 2003, at the end of the 1-2 victory against Betis at the Benito Villamarín with two of his goals, one of them to remember; one of his best goals as an Atletico player.

In the 41st minute, he received a high and crossed pass that connected with a Chilean half, at a height that seemed unattainable, with an undeniable right hand that slipped into the corner of Koke Contreras’ goal, which amazed Spanish football and remains indelible in his memory and in that of all athletic fans.

Why did Fernando Torres leave Atletico Madrid?

“An offer came and I asked them to listen to it. The decision was mine (…) The decision has been difficult, but I think it has been a great step forward (…). I am proud and always will be to be athletic “Wherever my heart is, it will always be athletic. I hope this is a see you later,” said Torres, excited, in a packed Vip room at the Vicente Calderón on July 4, 2007.

He was “a 24-year-old boy who understood something very hard” for him: “That I needed to leave Atleti so that the club could grow and I could grow.” It was a full stop, after a decade at the service of the club, to head to Liverpool, then to Chelsea, and then to Milan, to win a World Cup and two European Championships with the Spanish team in between, which he celebrated with the Atlético shield. It was really a “see you later”. He returned home in 2015.

When did Fernando Torres make his Premier League debut?

He debuted with Rafa Benítez’s Liverpool at Aston Villa and scored his first goal against Chelsea. He ends the season with 24 goals.

Fernando Torres: National Team Success

2008: European Champion

The goal of his career. He wins the race against Lahm and overtakes the German goalkeeper to give Spain its second European Championship, the title that opened the most important years of Spanish football.

2010: World Champion

He was not a starter and when he played he ended up injured, but he was there, at the most important moment in the history of Spanish football.

When did Fernando Torres sign for Chelsea?

They signed him for 58 million euros and that’s when he got the most important titles at the club level, although not always as a starter. He won the Champions League and his first Europa League. In the summer of 2014, they loaned him to Milan.

How was Fernando Torres’ return to Atletico Madrid?

It looked like a match day at the Calderón, with cars on the sidewalks, floods of people, and endless queues. It was the moment that Atletico fans had been waiting for years, Fernando Torres’ return home, which exceeded all expectations, with 50,000 spectators in the stands to acclaim their ‘Niño’, back.

In a presentation never seen in the Manzanares, surely unrepeatable ever, a quarter of an hour before 2:00 p.m., with the ’19’ on his back, accompanied by his two children, he left the locker room tunnel. The stadium erupted with jubilation. “It is very nice to return home. Someday you will have to explain to me what I have done for you to treat me so well. I had been waiting for this moment for a long time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are always above what one can wait”, he said that day to the fans of the team of his life.

“There was no reason to approach the Calderon that morning, it’s like a son leaves home and returns at seven years old and his family is there to say ‘hello’. That’s how I felt and it was the most special moment I’ve ever experienced as a footballer. And it hasn’t been a game or a goal”, he later recalled about that reception.

2018: A European triumph with the home team

The Europa League final fulfilled the most exciting dream of Fernando Torres’ career: to win a title with Atletico de Madrid. He had always pursued it, he had dreamed of it since he was a child and he achieved it in Lyon against Marseille (0-3). He jumped onto the field to replace Griezmann for the final moments of the duel.

He raised the cup with Gabi Fernandez, the captain, with emotion and enormous happiness. “It’s a fantastic ending. When you have dreams as a child, this was mine, to win a title with my team. Dreams can be fulfilled with work, struggle and sacrifice as the club has taught me. I feel a happiness that is difficult to explain”.

How many goals did Fernando Torres score in his career?

Torres made his debut with Atletico in professional football on May 27, 2001, and retired at Japanese side Sagan Tosu on August 23, 2019. Throughout his career, he scored 302 goals in 879 games.

The center forward was part of the generation of the Spanish team that was proclaimed champion of two European Championships (2008 and 2012) and the 2010 World Cup. Torres, originally from Fuenlabrada, developed a good part of his professional career at Atletico de Madrid, a club for which he has played the ninth most games in history. In addition to his time at Atletico, the center forward also had experiences in Japan, England, and Italy.

Since 1995, the striker was already playing in the red-and-white colours, beginning to train at Atletico as a youngster. Fernando Torres made his debut in the soccer elite on May 27, 2001 at the Vicente Calderon against Leganes. In that season, Atletico de Madrid was in the Second Division. The game ended with a 1-0 victory for the colchoneros and Torres began his career in professional football at the age of 17 years and two months.

His first goal for Atletico de Madrid in the professional category came a week after his debut against Leganes, scoring the decisive goal in his team’s victory at Albacete.

From that day until August 23, 2019, when he retired, the striker scored 302 goals in 879 games played for Atletico de Madrid (2000-2007 and 2015-2018), Liverpool (2007-2011), Chelsea (2011-2014), Milan (2014), Sagan Tosu (2018-2019) and the Spanish National Team. Of the 879 games played, he won 53% of them.

What is the unique record held by Fernando Torres?

Torres holds a record that no other player has. He has played in the Champions League, Europa League, World Cup, and European Championship finals, and has won all these titles. The only exception was in the 2015-16 season when Atletico de Madrid lost the Champions League final to neighbor and rival Real Madrid. Another European final that they failed to win was against Villarreal in 2004.

In fact, the center forward is part of the Triple Crown Generation of the national team, having won two European Championships in 2008 (where he was decisive in the final against Germany, scoring the winning goal) and 2012 (versus Italy), and the World Cup in South Africa in 2010 against the Netherlands.

In his vast trophy cabinet, Fernando Torres has three European Championships (one achieved with the U-19 National Team in 2002, and the other two with the senior team in 2008 and 2012), two Europa League (one with Chelsea achieved in 2012-13 and another with Atlético achieved in 2017-18), a Champions League (won with the ‘blues’ in 2011-12), an FA Cup (in 2012 with the London team) and the 2010 World Cup.

In addition, in a personal capacity, he was one of the top 6 scorers at Euro 2012 (3 goals) and shared the achievement of being a top scorer at the 2013 Confederations Cup with Fred (Brazil), scoring 5 goals throughout the tournament.

All these experiences and football successes were lived in a total of 59,862 minutes on the pitch, which translates into almost 1,000 hours playing football as a professional.

How is Fernando Torres’ Spanish team career?

Fernando Torres is the third top scorer for ‘La Roja’ with 38 goals scored in his 110 games (and a total of 6,160 minutes) as an international. He is also the ninth player who has played the most games with the national team.

With the senior team, the striker made his debut against Portugal on September 6, 2003. He participated in three European Championships (2004, 2008 and 2012), three World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), and two Confederations Cups (2009 and 2013).

His last game for Spain was on June 23, 2014, at the World Cup in Brazil, against Australia. ‘La Roja’ won 3-0, and Torres was the author of one of the goals.

Fernando Torres: Club Career 

Atletico Madrid (2000-2007 and 2015-2018)

It is, without a doubt, the club of his life. His first 35 minutes in professional football were on May 27, 2001, against Leganes in the Second Division. In the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons, he played in the silver category in the red and white ranks, playing 6 games between the two campaigns.

His debut in the highest category of Spanish football was on September 1, 2002, against Barcelona, ​​which ended 2-2.

Torres occupied the 75th position in the ranking of top scorers in the First Division, with 102 goals. He also reaped 20 doubles in the Spanish league. He is also the twentieth player who has scored the most goals against different teams in the League: 37. From the penalty spot, in the Spanish competition, he scored 19 goals.

In his two stints with Atletico, Fernando Torres played 404 games, starting in more than 75% of those games. He scored 130 goals in that time, with an average of 0.32 goals per game. Of the total number of goals scored during his career, those achieved with Atlético represent more than 43%.

Liverpool (2007-2011)

On July 3, 2007, Fernando Torres’ signing for Liverpool was made official. Torres signed for six seasons and the ‘reds’ paid 36 million euros to get the striker. He made his debut on August 11 of the same year at Aston Villa, where the team then coached by Rafa Benítez won 2-1.

During his time at Anfield, the striker achieved a record that until then no one had achieved in Liverpool: reaching 50 goals in just 72 games. Currently, he shares this honour with Mohamed Salah, who took 72 games to score 50 goals as well.

With the ‘red’ shirt, Torres played the Champions League for the first time, and played 11,181 minutes in 142 games. He also scored 81 goals, leaving with an impressive average of 0.57 goals per game.

Chelsea (2011-2014)

His transfer to Chelsea materialized on January 31, 2011. It was very controversial and criticized by Liverpool fans. It is the fifth most expensive signing in the history of the ‘blues’, who paid 58.5 million euros for him. Coincidences of life, his first game with Chelsea was against Liverpool on February 6. The ‘reds’ removed the thorn from the sale of Torres by winning at Stamford Bridge by 1-0.

The center forward played 10,545 minutes in 172 games for the ‘blues’. He started in almost 70% of these games. With Chelsea, he sent the ball into the back of the net 45 times, averaging 0.26 goals per game, and won one Champions League, one Europa League, and one FA Cup.

The man from Fuenlabrada spent seven seasons in England, which made him the 42nd top scorer in Premier League history, with 85 goals. He had 17 doubles and 4 hat tricks from 2007 to 2014.

A.C. Milan (2014)

Chelsea agreed to send Torres on loan to AC Milan on August 29, 2014. His first game with the Milan shirt was on September 20 against Juventus at the San Siro, with a narrow victory for La Vecchia Signora (0-1).

Fernando Torres played for Milan for 589 minutes in 10 games and scored a goal. Of these 10 games, in seven he was part of the starting 11.

On December 29, 2014, after spending four months in Italy, Fernando Torres returned to the banks of the Manzanares on loan until June 2016.  It was in that month and that year that he signed with Atletico Madrid until 2017, and later renewed until 2018.

Sagan Tosu (2018-2019)

On April 9, 2018, the Atletico de Madrid striker announced that he would leave the team at the end of the season. Three months later, on July 10, his signing for Japanese side Sagan Tosu became official. His first match in the J1 League, the main soccer competition in Japan, was on July 22 against Vegalta Sendai.

During his time in the Japanese championship, he played 3,751 minutes in 41 games, 32 of which he started. He scored 7 times.

Sagan Tosu was his last club since on August 23, 2018, he ended his career in professional football against Vissel Kobe, a team in which Andrés Iniesta plays and which the now-retired David Villa joined in December 2018.

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