Fernando Torres’ declaration last month that he will be leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of the season puts an end to a fluctuating two-decade-long relationship between him and Diego Simeone.
“I will always put Atletico before me, they are the most important thing to me,” Torres was quoted as saying some few weeks ago. “My biggest dream has always been to play here and that is when I was a child and grown up, it is what I wanted most.
“This is the second time I have had to give that up and both times have been for the benefit of the club, and I would do it a third time and a fourth.
“This club means everything to me and they will always be in my heart.”
Torres was Atlético’s skipper at 19, at the same time their current manager Simeone was playing for them.
The Spaniard’s first encounter with Simeone came on January 15, 1995. Atlético Madrid were playing at home against Compostela and 10-year-old Torres’ grandfather Eulalio took him along to see his first game at the Estadio Vicente Calderón, where Simeone started in the middle of the park. The future World Cup triumphant remembers Simeone’s performance, even if he has admitted he can’t recall much else from that fairly uneventful draw.
After proudly signing a contract with Atlético five years later, Torres rose through the ranks in the capital city club’s academy and eventually made his debut for the club on May 27, 2001.
The rest they say is history, as it is now on record that ‘El Cholo’ – Diego Simeone was once led by ‘El Nino’ – Fernando Torres, who has over 400 Atletico appearance.
The Argentine tactician says of Torres:
“Fernando strongly represents the values of the club,
“He left, later he returned and continues to have the same philosophy of work and respect towards the fans. This is something that is transmitted by people like Saul, Lucas, Thomas… Torres is a perfect reflection of Atletico’s values.
Midfielder Koke buttresses: “Fernando Torres is an example for all the youngsters here. We are so proud of everything he has achieved and we see ourselves reflected in him.”
It is understood that clubs from Japan, China and the Major League Soccer (MLS) are tracking the 34 year old.
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