Fernando Torres has spoken of his admiration for Diego Simeone, which has fuelled the speculation he could be on his way back to Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish international made his name at the Vicente Calderon, having joined them in 1995 as an 11-year-old before breaking into their first team some six years later. He eventually played 243 times for the capital club in all competition, scoring 91 goals, before he left for Liverpool in the summer of 2007 for a fee of £20million.
Torres made an immediate impact to life in England, becoming the Premier League’s most prolific foreign goalscorer in his debut season when he notched 24 times for the Reds. This, though, was his peak campaign for the Merseyside club, who couldn’t resist cashing in on him when Chelsea offered a British record £50million in January 2011.
Although the 30-year-old has helped the Blues win the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup during his time in London, it is no secret that he has failed to find anything like his best form whilst at Stamford Bridge. And despite having two years left on his contract, he is expected to be moved on during the summer window.
It has been reported that Jose Mourinho’s side are willing to listen to offers for Torres at the end of the season, and he has been linked with a return to his first club. Report in Spain claim Simeone has made ‘El Nino’ his top target ahead of next season, and the player has fuelled this speculation by revealing his admiration for the Argentine coach.
“I’ve had a lot of admiration for ‘El Cholo’ ever since we were team-mates,” Torres told AS. “He helped me a lot. He taught me how to be a captain; he taught me a lot in the seasons we played together at Atletico. I always want to work with people I admire. I admired Rafael Benitez from the outside, and I had the chance to work with him.
“The same goes for Jose Mourinho or Luis Aragones. I’ve been lucky enough to work with people who, when you saw them from the outside, you said: ‘What have they got, what’s their secret, why do all the teams they coach work well…?’ Simeone is like [Pep] Guardiola or like other coaches, who you’d like to go and see how they coach and learn.”
When asked if he would welcome a return to the Vicente Calderon, Torres would only reply: “In football, you never know. You don’t know where you’re going to be tomorrow, in a week’s time or in 10 years’ time. How can I answer that question?”