Uefa Super Cup 2012: Chelsea’s Torres braced for emotional clash
Uefa Super Cup 2012: Chelsea's Fernando Torres is preparing for an emotional reunion with his former employers Atletico Madrid
Fernando Torres admits it will be an emotional experience when he lines up against his former club Atletico Madrid as Chelsea aim to win the European Super Cup on Friday.
The former Atletico captain scored 91 goals in 243 games for the Spanish side before sealing a move to Liverpool in 2007.
And the 28-year-old Spain striker, who has never previously faced his former employers, says he remains a devoted Atletico Madrid supporter but vowed to leave emotions at the door ahead of Friday’s showdown in Monaco.
“It couldn’t be more special for me,” said Torres. “Since I moved from Atletico I [still] feel the support of Madrid fans.
“They know I was one of them and I’m one of them. I spent more than 12 years of my life there. It was not only my former club, it’s the club I support.
“Friday is going to be so special [but] I have to leave all these things apart. My only commitment right now is to win this cup and that means we will have to beat Atletico.
“We are here to win and that’s the only aim we have. After the game I will be an Atletico Madrid supporter like I’ve always been.”
The striker also paid tribute to current Atletico head coach Diego Simeone, who captained the club during Torres’ early years at the Estadio Vicente Calderón.
“I think what he did for Atletico Madrid speaks for itself,” he continued. “He was a great player and is a great coach as well. The club was going through a difficult time and it wasn’t easy for him – but he’s been a legend for Atletico.
“He got through the idea of sacrifice, working for the team. They are an aggressive team and work hard to win matches. That’s the kind of player he was and it reflects on the team. He was the captain when I as a young player, he was very helpful to me. He had been as champion at Estudiantes and he taught me a lot.”
And Torres is wary of the threat posed by Madrid striker Radamel Falcao as Roberto Di Matteo’s men look to claim their first trophy of the season.
“People like Falcao really help the club grow and the image of the club,” he said. “ Atletico should be proud to have him as a player – hopefully not on Friday – but generally speaking, I think it is great that Falcao is playing for a club like Atletico.”
Uefa Super Cup 2012: Pre-match facts
• Chelsea are undefeated against Spanish opponents, home and away, in 13 competitive fixtures. Their last reverse was inflicted by Barcelona in the 2005-06 Champions League round of 16, a 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge.
• Overall, Chelsea have faced Spanish sides 31 times, winning 14, drawing 11 and losing six, including their 1998 Uefa Super Cup win against Real Madrid.
• The Spanish side have won their last 12 matches in European competition, stretching back to a 2-0 loss to Udinese in last season’s Europa League group phase.
• Gus Poyet scored the sole goal of Chelsea’s only previous Uefa Super Cup appearance 14 years ago, against Madrid. Di Matteo played 63 minutes with his assistant Eddie Newton an unused substitute.