Fernando Torres: Europa League victory with Atletico Madrid ‘more important’ than World Cup win
Fernando Torres won his first trophy with boyhood club Atletico Madrid by winning the Europa League final
Fernando Torres says he has fulfilled a childhood dream by winning the Europa League title with Atletico Madrid, and that it means more to him than lifting the World Cup with Spain.
Local hero Torres signed off on his Atletico career in fine style on Wednesday night with his first ever trophy for the club.
The Spanish side beat Marseille 3-0 to win Europe’s secondary competition, with the 34-year-old striker coming on as a late substitute.
El Nino, who supported Atletico since he was five years old, came through their academy and made his first-team debut at 17, will leave his boyhood club for the second time in his career this summer.
After his first exit in 2007 to join Liverpool, Torres enjoyed a glittering career – wining Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup titles with Spain and the Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea in 2012 and 2013 – before returning to his hometown in 2015.
He may not have had a prominent role in the team since his return, but was thrilled to finally lift a trophy in an Atletico shirt.
And he says this one tops all the rest.
He said: "It's difficult to explain how happy I feel after so much time, it was a dream I've always had since I was a child.
"I feel so proud to belong to this group, which has changed the lives of so many Atletico fans. Before we had to explain why we wore this shirt. I dedicate this to all the fans that came here and all the ones that are waiting for us in Madrid.
"On a sentimental level this is the most important trophy to me.
"I've been lucky to win a lot but when you have dreamt about something since you were a child it's different. This was my dream, to win with my team and I've been able to achieve it."
Manager Diego Simeone said Torres ‘represents everything’ about Atletico Madrid after their victory over Marseille.
Torres was encouraged to be the first to lift the cup in Lyon, and Simeone said afterwards: “For Fernando Torres, it's a dream come true.
“I've never given him anything for free but he represents everything we're about.
"He has left a great legacy for his team-mates, for the club. I hope he gets the send-off he deserves on Sunday.”
Team-mate Gabi also singled out Torres, who will play his final Atletico game against Eibar this weekend, as they aim to secure the runner-up spot in LaLiga.
"This cup has given us a lot," he said. "Torres deserves it more than most – there's no better way to say goodbye to Atleti."