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Fernando José Torres Sanz (20th March 1984) is a Spanish footballer who plays for Premier League club Liverpool F.C. and the Spanish national team as a striker.
Torres started his career with Atlético de Madrid, progressing through their youth ranks. He made his professional debut in 2001 and finished his career with the club having scored 75 goals in 174 La Liga appearances, earning the nickname El Niño ("The Kid"). Prior to the La Liga debut, Torres played two seasons in the Segunda División, making 40 appearances and scoring seven goals. He joined Liverpool in 2007, after Liverpool F.C. signed him with the club's record transfer fee. He marked his first season at Anfield by being Liverpool's first player, since Robbie Fowler in1995–96, to score more than 20 league goals in a season.
He is also a Spanish international and made his debut for the country against Portugal in 2003. He has since participated in three major tournaments, UEFA Euro 2004, 2006 FIFA World Cupand UEFA Euro 2008. He did not score a goal at Euro 2004, but he scored three at World Cup 2006. Torres scored the winning goal for Spain in their 1–0 win over Germany in the UEFA Euro 2008 Final. Is a world champion with Spain national team.
Born in Madrid, Torres became interested in football as a child and joined his first team, Parque 84, at the age of five. His father José worked during Torres' childhood, and his mother Flori daily traveled with him to training sessions. His grandfather was not a passionate football fan, but took pride in being an Atlético de Madrid supporter, and Torres inherited the love for the club.
Torres started playing football as a goalkeeper, the position his brother played in. When he was seven years old, however, he started playing regularly as a striker in an indoor league for the neighborhood club, Mario’s Holland, using the characters from the anime Captain Tsubasa as inspiration. Three years later, aged 10, he progressed to an 11-side team, Rayo 13. He scored 55 goals in a season and was one of three Rayo 13 players to earn a trial with Atlético Madrid. He impressed the scouts and joined the club in 1995.
Torres arguing with the referee during a match with Atlético
After progressing through the ranks, Torres won his first important youth title in 1998. Atlético de Madrid sent an under-15 team to compete in the Nike Cup, in Spain and Europe, to play against youth teams from other clubs. Atlético won the tournament. He was later voted the best player in Europe for the age group. In 1999, Torres signed his first professional contract with Atlético de Madrid. He spent his first year playing in the youth team and moved onto the participating in the Honor Division when he was 16. The 2000–01 season had started badly, as Torres suffered from a cracked shinbone which kept him out until December. Torres trained with the first team to get prepared for pre-season, but eventually made his debut for the team on 27 May 2001, at Vicente Calderón, against CD Leganés. A week later, he scored his first goal for the club against Albacete Balompié and the season finished with Atlético narrowly missing out on promotion to La Liga.
Atlético was promoted to La Liga at the end of the 2001–02 season. Torres did not perform well in the season, as he netted only six times in 36 appearances in the Segunda Division.Torres' first season in 2002–03 was better, however, as he scored 12 goals in 29 appearances, with Atlético finishing in the 11th place. In the 2003–04season, his second in La Liga, Torres made further strides, scoring 19 league goals in 35 appearances, meaning he finished as joint third highest scorer in the league. He formed a strong strike partnership with Greek strikerDemis Nikolaidis. The two complemented each other, creating space and opportunities for each other as the pair scored 26 goals between them. At the age of 19, Torres was named Atlético's captain. Atlético narrowly missed out on qualification for the UEFA Cup, but by finishing in 7th place in 2004, they qualified for the UEFA Intertoto Cup, giving Torres a first taste of a competition at the European level. He scored two goals in the two round fur matches against OFK Beograd, with one coming in each leg. Atlético reached the final, but lost on penalties to Villarreal CF. The Premier League champions Chelsea were believed to be interested in signing Torres in 2005, but Atlético president Enrique Cerezo said that they had "no chance" of signing him. Cerezo later said in January 2006 that the club were willing to listen to offers for Torres, and Torres claimedNewcastle United had made a bid to sign him in March.
Torres played for the Spanish national team at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He stated after the World Cup that he had turned down an offer to joinChelsea at the end of the 2005–06 season. Torres scored 14 league goals in the 2006–07 season, but his future at Atlético was once again the subject of speculation as the club failed to secure an automatic UEFA Cup spot. The English media reported that he was the main transfer target of Liverpool,, but Cerezo stated, "We've received no offer from Liverpool or any other club or player". However, a few days later, new reports suggested Atlético had agreed a deal with Liverpool for Torres. The fee was rumored to be £25 million with Luis García moving to Atletico in a separate transfer deal. On 30 June, Atlético announced a deal to sign Diego Forlán from Villarreal, in what was seen as a move to replace Torres before his departure became official. On 2 July, it was reported that Torres had cut short a vacation to fly back to Madrid to finalize the move to Liverpool. The following day, Torres passed a medical for Liverpool. He held a press conference in Madrid on 4 July to bid farewell to the Atlético fans, before completing his move to Liverpool on a six-year contract. The transfer fee was the highest in Liverpool's history. In March 2008, manager Rafael Benítez stated in an interview with The Times that Torres was acquired for around £20 million, although this figure takes into account García's move to Atlético.
Torres playing for Liverpool against Middlesbrough on 23 February 2008, during which he scored a hat-trick
Torres made his competitive debut for Liverpool against Aston Villa in a 2–1 win on 11 August 2007. He made his first appearance in the UEFA Champions League four days later in a 1–0 victory over Toulouse FC, after coming on as a 79th minute substitute. His first Premier League goal came on his Anfield debut on 19 August, in the 16th minute in a 1–1 draw against Chelsea. His first hat-trick came in a 4–2 victory over Reading in theLeague Cup in September, with all of his goals coming in the second half. His first goals in the Champions League came on his third appearance in the competition as Liverpool beat FC Porto 4–1, as he scored twice.
He was named the Premier League's player of the month for February, during which he scored four goals in two league appearances, including a hat-trick against Middlesbrough on 23 February 2008. This hat-trick and another in a 4–0 victory over West Ham United on 5 March 2008 meant he became the first Liverpool player sinceJackie Balmer in November 1946 to score a hat-trick in successive home matches.Later in March, after he scored a 47th minute header against Reading at Anfield, becoming the first Liverpool player since Robbie Fowler in the 1995–96 season campaign to score 20 league goals in a season. In April, he scored another Champions League goal, this time against Arsenal in the quarter-final second leg, as Liverpool advanced to the semi-final.This goal took him onto 29 goals for the 2007–08 season in all competitions, eclipsing Liverpool favourite Michael Owen's personal record for goals in a season. On 11 April 2008, it was announced Torres had made a six man shortlist for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, which was eventually won by Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United. The Spanish international was also nominated for the PFA Young Player of the YearAward, which was won by Cesc Fàbregas of Arsenal and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. In May, he finished second to Ronaldo for the FWA Footballer of the Year award.
Torres during Liverpool's 3–2 victory against Manchester City on 5 October 2008, in which he scored a brace.
On 4 May 2008, Torres scored a 57th minute winner against Manchester City, which equalled the consecutive Anfield league goal record of eight games set byRoger Hunt. After scoring his 24th league goal in the final game of the season, a 2–0 win against Tottenham Hotspur, he set a new record for the most prolific foreign goal scorer ever in a debut season in England, eclipsing Ruud van Nistelrooy's 23 goals. He ended the season in joint second place with Emmanuel Adebayor in the race for the Premier League golden boot. Torres was subject to media speculation that Chelsea were willing pay £50 million to sign him but Torres responded by saying it would be "many years" before he left Liverpool F.C.. Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks also negated the idea of a transfer, saying he would not allow Torres to leave the club at any price.
Torres made a promising start to the Premier League 2008–09 season, scoring the only goal in a 1–0 away win against Sunderland. He suffered what was later confirmed as a hamstring tear in a 0–0 draw against Aston Villa, which would keep him out for two to three weeks. Torres made his return in a 2–1 victory againstOlympique de Marseille in the Champions League and went on to score a brace in the Merseyside derby against Everton on 27 September to give Liverpool a 2–0 win. He followed this up with another two goals the following weekend against Manchester City in a 3–2 win away at the City of Manchester Stadium as Liverpool came back from a two goal deficit. The first of these was Liverpool's thousandth Premier League goal.Torres picked up a hamstring injury during a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier, meaning he was likely to miss three games for Liverpool. On 22 October, Liverpool played Torres' former club Atlético de Madrid in the Champions League at the Vicente Calderón, but his injury meant he missed out on the game. The Atlético president, Enrique Cerezo, had given him a VIP invitation to watch the game, but he declined this to recover his rehabilitation from injury in Merseyside. He was named in the FIFPro World XI team for the 2007–08 season on 27 October.
Torres made his return for Liverpool after coming on as a 72nd minute substitute in a 3–0 victory against West Bromwich Albion. He said he would be interested in returning to former club Atlético eventually, saying "I don't know if I will retire there, but I would like to go back and finish some things that are left to do." He was ruled out of action for two to three weeks following Liverpool's 1–0 victory over Marseille in the Champions League in November, where he picked up a hamstring strain, which was later extended to at least four weeks by specialists.He was named on the shortlist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award in December, and eventually came in third place behind Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.Torres returned to action on 3 January 2009 as a substitute with a goal in the 2–0 win over Preston North End; his first in the FA Cup. He scored two late goals for Liverpool to secure a 2–0 victory over Chelsea on 1 February. Despite having spent a year and a half at the club, Torres was chosen as number 50 in The Times's list of "The 50 greatest Liverpool players", reinforcing the impact he had made at Liverpool in such a short period of time.
Torres faced his old rivals Real Madrid on 10 March in the Champions League last 16 and due to an ankle injury, he had a painkilling injecting before the game to enable him to play. He scored the first goal of the game, which ended as a 4–0 victory, meaning Liverpool progressed to the quarter-finals 5–0 on aggregate. Four days later he lined up against Manchester United at Old Trafford and he scored the equaliser in a game that finished as a 4–1 victory. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year for the second season running in April 2009. Torres scored his 50th goal for Liverpool on 24 May against Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the 2008–09 season, which was his 84th appearance. Following the end of the season, he agreed a new contract with Liverpool, which he signed on 14 August. By signing this contract, Liverpool increased his wage to £110,000 a week and included the the option of a one-year extension after its expiry in 2013.
On 27 January, Torres was the subject of a £40 million bid from Chelsea, which was rejected by Liverpool. He subsequently handed in an official transfer request to Liverpool the next day, which was rejected. Torres completed his move to Chelsea on a five-and-a-half year contract on 31 January for an undisclosed fee reported to be £50 million, which set a new record for a British transfer and made him the fourth most expeive footballer in history. He made his Chelsea debut on 6 February in a 1–0 home defeat to former club Liverpool.On 23 April, Torres scored his first goal for Chelsea against West Ham United in a 3–0 victory, which ended a run of 903 minutes of football without a goal.
Torres celebrating victory with Spain at Euro 2008
In February 2001, Torres won the Algarve Tournament with the Spain under-16 team. The under-16s took part in the 2001 UEFA European Under-16 Football Championship in May, which they also won, with Torres scoring the only goal in the final, as well as finishing as the tournament's leading scorer, and was also named the player of the tournament. In November 2001, Torres represented Spain at the 2001 FIFA Under-17 World Championship, but the team failed to progress through the group stage. In July 2002, he won the 2002 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. He finished as a top scorer, was named player of the tournament, and was again the only goalscorer in the final.
Torres made his senior debut for the senior Spanish national team on 6 September 2003 in a friendly againstPortugal. His first goal for Spain came against Italy on 28 April 2004. He was selected for the Spanish squad for UEFA Euro 2004. After appearing as a late substitute in Spain's first two group games, he started for the deciding game against Portugal. Spain were losing 1–0, and towards the end of the second half, hit the post.
He scored seven goals in 11 appearances in qualifying for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, making him Spain's top scorer for qualification, including a vital brace against Belgium and his first international hat-trick against San Marino. At his first ever appearance in a World Cup finals at the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Torres scored the final goal in a 4–0 victory over Ukraine with a volley. In the second group match, Torres scored twice against Tunisia, first in the 76th minute to take Spain 2–1 into the lead, and then again from a penalty kick in the 90th. With three goals, he finished the tournament as Spain's top scorer along with fellow striker David Villa.
He was called up for Spain's UEFA Euro 2008 squad, where he set up Villa to score Spain's first goal of the tournament in the first game in the group stage against Russia. Torres came under criticism for apparently refusing to shake the hand of Spanish manager, Luis Aragonés, after being substituted. He subsequently denied being angry with the coaching, saying that he was actually "angry with himself". He scored his first goal of the tournament in Spain's next game, a 2–1 win over Sweden.Torres scored the winner and was named the man of the match in the final against Germany in a 1–0 victory. He said, "It's just a dream come true. This is my first title and I hope it's the first of many. Victory in a Euro, it is almost as big as a World Cup. We are used to watching finals on television, but today we were here and we won. My job is to score goals. I want to win more titles and be the most important player in Europe and the world." He was later named as a striker along with his striking partner Villa in the Team of the Tournament.
Torres made his 60th appearance for Spain in a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification victory over Turkey on 28 March 2009, becoming the youngest player to reach this milestone. In a season plagued by injuries, he missed out on a number of qualification matches, but scored against Chile after coming on in the second half for Villa. He was named in Spain's team for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup in June.He scored his second hat-trick for Spain after 17 minutes into a Confederations Cup game against New Zealand on 14 June, thus recording the fastest hat-trick by a player for Spain. He played for Spain as they were defeated 2–0 by the United States in the semi-final, as well as the third-place play-off, which Spain won 3–2 after extra time.
Torres married Olalla Domínguez Liste on 27 May 2009 in El Escorial, Community of Madrid, with whom he has been in a relationship with since 2001. It was revealed in February 2009 that the couple was expecting a baby, which they later confirmed to be a girl. Olalla gave birth to a daughter, Nora Torres Domínguez, on 8 July 2009 at the Hospital La Rosaleda Compostelan, in Santiago de Compostela.
In 2009, it was reported that Torres has a personal fortune of £14 million. He features in the video for "Ya Nada Volverá A Ser Como Antes" by Spanish rock group El Canto del Loco, whose singer, Dani Martín, shares a strong friendship with the footballer. He makes a cameo appearance in the 2005 comedy film Torrente 3: El protector.