12 reasons we’ll always love Fernando Torres: Barcelona, hat-tricks, Tolkein…
Fernando Torres sits among an elite club of legendary Liverpool strikers, and even when struggling for goals at Chelsea the fans found it impossible not to love him.
The former Atletico Madrid prodigy scored 140 goals in 276 appearances across La Liga and the Premier League before breaking the British transfer record with a £50million move to Stamford Bridge.
And though he was largely considered to have flopped, Torres still left having won fans’ hearts having helped the Blues win both the Champions League and Europa League.
He then returned to Atletico via a stint in Milan, writing another chapter to his love story with his first club before joining Japanese club Sagan Tosu in 2018 in an attempt to earn adoration in another continent.
The Spaniard earned the famous nickname when he broke through at Atletico, with the literal translation of “the kid”.
Torres was made captain at Vicente Calderon at the tender age of 19, having helped the club to promotion to La Liga.
In the midst of his debut season at Liverpool, and having just won the Premier League player of the month award for February, Torres became the first player for over 60 years to score successive hat-tricks at Anfield.
He scored three against Middlesbrough, which secured him the monthly award, before hitting a treble against West Ham a fortnight later to become the first player to achieve the feat since Jack Balmer in 1946.
*That* goal at Barcelona
We’re pretty sure everyone remembers that moment of realisation when the ball fell to Torres on the half-way line, and he only had Victor Valdes to beat.
We’re definitely sure everyone remembers the noise that it produced from Gary Neville’s mouth.
Torres is well-known to be a huge fan of JRR Tolkein, and even has a tattoo reading “Fernando” in Tolkein’s fictional language Tenwar on his left arm.
Inspired by Torres, former Atletico team-mate Sergio Aguero has also inked his body in the Elvish language, with Kun Aguero scwaled across his right arm.
A flop who stole fans’ hearts
As the commentator mentions in the above clip, that goal alone was worth every penny of the £50million transfer fee Roman Abramovich shelled out for Torres.
Not only did it get him to another Champions League final, but eventually saw the owner win the much-desired trophy for the first time.
He may have not been at his true best during his time at Chelsea, but he is still loved by everyone there.
In 2008, Torres scored twice away at Manchester City as Liverpool came from two goals down to earn a 3-2 victory.
It was the last time – until the Manchester derby in April 2018 – that City had lost a game from being two goals up.
His autobiography, El Niño – My Story, was released in 2009, detailing his love for Liverpool and also letting supporters know what goes on behind the scenes in the seemingly shy striker’s life.
Torres broke convention by reportedly writing the book entirely by himself, as opposed to hiring a ghost writer.
15 years in the making
Torres hit his first Atletico goal way back in 2001, a fresh-faced 17-year-old lining up against Albacete in the Spanish second tier.
In 2016, the man adored by Atletico supporters finally made it into three figures, stretching to convert Luciano Vietto’s cross and seal a 3-1 comeback win over Eibar.
To put things into perspective, when he scored his first goal for the club, alongside him on the pitch was Jean-Francois Hernandez. When he scored his 100th, alongside him was Jean-Francois’ son, Lucas.
So proud of reaching 100-goal milestone defending Atlético’s badge. Now and forever ForzaAtleti! pic.twitter.com/1nbhNNuD2e
— Fernando Torres (@Torres) February 6, 2016
After scoring his 100th goal, at the end of the game, the Atletico players left the pitch, all bar Torres. He headed towards the north end of the Vicente Calderon, in search of one man in particular.
Former Atletico youth coach Manuel Briñas stands quietly, alone, alongside photographers and stewards at every home game, but this one wasn’t going to be one of those days.
Torres found Briñas, and handed him his match shirt. And soon all eyes were on him. The waiting media, who he usually snuck past on his way out of the ground, were waiting for him.
“I was heading home when I felt a tap on the shoulder,” he told them. “I turned and it was Fernando. He whispered in my ear: ‘This is for you, you made me love these colours. I’ll be grateful to you for the rest of my life.’”
This is because Briñas is the man who picked Torres out of 200 10-year-olds. Scoring their performances out of 10, the coach reportedly said to his colleague: “Give him 10. In fact, give him 10 and a bit.”
After his 100th goal, Fernando Torres gave his shirt to Manuel Brinas, who initially brought him to the club. 👊 pic.twitter.com/NzOhxr1RjH
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 6, 2016
A fitting farewell
On May 20, 2018, six weeks after announcing he would leave the club at the end of the season, Torres played his final ever game for Atletico.
He was named captain and, never one to ruin a good narrative, scored twice against Eibar, though it sadly wasn’t enough to earn a departing victory. Still, he left with plenty of good memories.
Fernando Torres se despediu do Atlético de Madrid neste domingo e recebeu diversas homenagens. O camisa 9, revelado pela equipe de Madri, ainda não revelou se jogará em algum clube na próxima temporada. No jogo de hoje, Torres marcou os dois gols do empate por 2 a 2 com o Eibar pic.twitter.com/joRmJaO1tc
— globoesportecom (@globoesportecom) May 20, 2018
El Canto del Loco
One of Torres’ closest friends is singer Dani Martin, who fronted pop-rock group El Canto del Loco.
In 2003, El Niño appeared in the music video for their song Ya nada volverá a ser como antes.
Acting didn’t stop there for the striker, as he had a brief cameo in 2005 film Torrente 3: El protector, a parody of Hollywood movie The Bodyguard.
The Spaniard is well-known to be a huge fan of computer games, and while out injured at Liverpool he spent £35,000 fitting his house with not one but three games rooms.
Apparently very superstitious, Torres often centres around the number three, often purchasing three of everything. Incidentally, at the time he named three favourite games, namely Pro Evolution, Halo and Grand Theft Auto.