Fernando Torres at Esquire España

My childhood idol was always Kiko.  When I debuted with Atlético’s first team, he was still there.  We shared a locker room and spent a year together.  It was the closest thing to a dream come true for me.  From that time on, life has taken us down different roads, but we’re still in contact.  I can say that we’re good friends.  Un crack.

 We Spanish players have taken a step forward.  It’s evident that we weren’t afraid to go abroad.  Real Madrid and Barcelona have also placed their bets on national players, which helps a lot.  Now the national team draws not only on players from the Liga BBVA, but also from the Premier.  The team has acquired another dimension.  If you manage to have a good number of players who know the football of different countries, the richness, variety and competitiveness of the team multiplies.

Everything began with Luis Aragonés.  As the national team coach, he was the one who was brave enough to call up los pequeños, to play them together, to conform to a style.  It functioned and from that time on, Spain has had a style, something that it never had before.  People always talk about la furia and la pelea.  But now Spain is something else.  It’s a team that wants the ball, that plays well and beautifully, and it shows that’s how it wins.  My goal in Vienna?  That was only one step on a long road of successes.

Rafa Benítez has been the most important coach in my career.  It wasn’t easy for me to leave Atlético, to go to England and to find a style of football that was much more rapid, dynamic and with a greater physical presence than that of the Liga.  Rafa has been the only one who has known how to help me improve individually.  His base is the collective, but adapting the conditions of each one to the team.  That’s the secret.  And to achieve that, he maintains a permanent, personal and direct dialogue with each player.  He taught me many things and thanks to him I grew a lot as a professional.  There’s no doubt about that.

Liverpool and Chelsea are completely different clubs.  They have no similarity, neither in their past nor in their present.  My adaptation process for each has been completely distinct.  Chelsea is in London, a huge city.  I come from Madrid, also a great European capital, but this is much more of everything, for good and for bad.  It’s been difficult for me to adapt here compared to when I arrived in Liverpool, a more comfortable place, smaller, where I was surrounded by Spanish teammates.  In the end, the important thing is to try and organize yourself as quickly as possible.  That’s what I’m doing…