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40,000 Atlético Madrid fans welcomed back Fernando Torres



Kickbola.net Forty thousand fans were present for Fernando Torres's unveiling at Atlético Madrid. Photograph: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Fernando Torres: Atletico Madrid fans welcome striker on return.

Fernando Torres welcomed back to Atlético Madrid by 40,000 fans

• ‘I always hoped it would be “see you later” not “goodbye”’
• Diego Simeone says Torres is not returning as a saviour
• Torres to join Atlético on loan until 2016

“Ever since 24 July 2007 we have all been waiting for this moment,” the Atlético Madrid president, Enrique Cerezo, said. “This is not just any day. This is a very important day: Fernando Torres has come home.” Torres sat a few metres away in the front row of the directors’ box at the Vicente Calderón while through the glass doors the stands filled.



By the time Torres stepped outside and on to the pitch, wearing No19, there were 40,000 inside the groundVicente Calderón. They were loud too.



24 July 2007 was the day Torres left Atlético Madrid for Liverpool before moving to Chelsea for a record £50m fee.

This summer he joined Milan on loan but it did not last long: 10 games and one goal later he departed. Seven and a half years after leaving home he is back.



“A lot has happened since thenI always hoped that [leaving Atlético] was a ‘see you later’ not a ‘goodbye’,” Torres said. “There was not really a concrete moment [when a return became an option]. It was more a process.



“I have been in contact with the club all these years and when we saw it could happen and everyone agreed it was not difficult.

“I was a 24-year-old kid. It was very hard [to leave], the hardest decision of my career. I left to help the club grow and time has proved it to be right.



“The club has improved in every way and I have won the titles I was looking for. “[Atlético] is a very different club now. There is less doubt than there was and they are competing with Barcelona and Madrid, with fewer resources. I want to win titles here now.”



That is the challenge, of course. Sitting before Torres were players from the club’s youth system, 11-year-olds who finished runners-up in one of Spain’s most prestigious tournaments this Christmas. They then joined Torres for photographs and Cerezo described the 30-year-old – still known as El Niño, a youth-team product and a fan – as a symbol and an example for other kids at the club.

The warmth of his welcome was overwhelming; Torres is an icon here. Expectations are high, too, but the coach, Diego Simeone, said: “Torres does not come as a saviour.”



The striker does not expect even to come as a starter; the manager has talked about him offering variety, a different type of attacking threat and about the fact he will have to compete to get a place.

His debut may come on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey – against the club’s city rivals Real Madrid. “I know that there will be responsibility but I am here to contribute what I can, to add to the team.



“I hope to learn quickly and play when they need me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity,” Torres said before heading off to change. Outside, they were still waiting.



When he emerged at the top of the tunnel wearing red and white the roar was immense. He was joined by his children, Nora and Leo.



Songs ran round and so did he, signing and kicking balls into the crowd. And then, just before 2pm, there was a huge cheer as Torres put the ball in the net at the north end of the Calderón. Nora Torres, that is..

40,000 Atlético Madrid fans welcomed back Fernando Torres Reviewed by admin Ucop on 9:36 AM Rating: 5

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