TORRES JOINS CHELSEA
Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Fernando Torres on a five-and-a-half year contract.
The move to bring the Spanish World Cup and European Championship winner to London from Liverpool for an undisclosed fee was completed on Monday evening.
Speaking at Stamford Bridge after finalising the move, Torres said:
'I am very happy with my transfer to Chelsea and I am looking forward very much to helping my new team-mates this season and for many years to come.
'Having played against Chelsea many times since coming to England, and in some very big games I will never forget, I know there are many great players here and I will work hard to win a place in the team. I hope I can score some important goals for the supporters to enjoy this season.'
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said: 'This is a very significant day for Chelsea, capturing one of the best players in the world with his peak years ahead of him. We have long admired the talents of a player who is a proven goalscorer in English football and Fernando's arrival is a sign of our continuing high ambitious. I hope every Chelsea fan is as excited as I am with this news.'
Chief executive Ron Gourlay added: 'Signing a player of the stature of Fernando Torres benefits the club on many levels. Carlo Ancelotti was keen to add his talents to the squad as we continue our quest for three trophies this season, we are delighted we have succeed with that wish, and this signing will undoubtedly aid the club in realising our worldwide potential.'
Torres's scoring pedigree in English football is without doubt. The 26-year-old netted 65 goals in 102 league appearances for Liverpool and 81 in 142 games in all competitions.
He moved to the Premier League aged 23 having spent the previous 12 years at Atletico Madrid, a club based a few miles from the town of his birth on the outskirts of the capital city.
In his time at Atletico, 'El Nino' (The Kid - his nickname in Spain) was the club's youngest player and youngest captain. His debut came aged 17 and he took the armband two years later.
His first full season was a quiet start with just six goals from 36 league appearances but that became 13 from 29 games the next year and the 20-goal mark was reached in 2003/04, Torres's most prolific season in Spain and the year of his debut for the national side.
The player's subsequent emergence on the international stage and 75 goals in 174 Spanish top-flight games meant many clubs across Europe were after his signature but he chose to work under compatriot Rafael Benitez at Liverpool.
The transfer in July 2007 was valued at approximately £20 million, Luis Garcia going the other way, and Torres's first goal for the Merseysiders was against Chelsea at Anfield, opening the scoring in a 1-1 draw after getting the better of Tal Ben-Haim. It was the first of seven goals in seven games against Chelsea. It is his best return against any English club.
He scored three hat-tricks on the way to 33 goals in his first season in England, becoming the first Liverpool player since a previous wearer of the number 9 shirt, Robbie Fowler, to break the 30-goal mark in one season.
His second season returned 17 goals (injury reducing his number of appearances) as his side finished second, three points and one place above Chelsea in the league table. Last season, despite Liverpool dropping down the table to seventh, Torres accumulated a very healthy 22 goals in 32 games.
He headed to the World Cup in South Africa already a winner of the European Championships at senior international level.
In his teenage years, Torres had achieved top-scorer status for his country in both the Under 16 and Under 19 European Championships and he scored his first goal for the senior side against Italy aged 20, seven months after his first cap.
In the 2006 World Cup in Germany he scored three times in the group stage but Spain were beaten by France in the first knockout round. However there was no stopping his nation two years later at Euro 2008, Torres scoring once on the way to the final and the only goal in that match in Vienna as Germany were defeated. It was Spain's first major piece of silverware since 1964.
Last summer in South Africa, Torres struggled for full fitness and form during the World Cup having undergone surgery in April. As a result, Barcelona's Pedro took his place for a semi-final triumph over Germany.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque also left Torres out of the starting line-up for the final. Instead he came on in extra-time in the 1-0 win over Holland although he tore a muscle before the end.
Back in England this season and before joining the Blues, Torres made 26 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 11 times including both goals in Chelsea's November defeat at Anfield.