New Atletico Madrid signing Fernando Torres was paraded in front of a bumper crowd at the Vicente Calderon yesterday as fans welcomed their prodigal son home.
The striker, 30, has been brought in by the La Liga champions on an initial six-month loan deal after unsuccessful spells with Chelsea and AC Milan.
And despite scoring once in 14 games in Italy, over 40,000 supporters were delighted to catch a glimpse of the Spaniard who returns to Atletico after more than seven years away from his boyhood club.
Torres, who will wear the No 19 shirt in Madrid, was clearly emotional as he addressed the media and fans.
‘How nice it is to return home. I have been waiting a long time for this moment – finally it’s here,’ he said. ‘For me its a special day.
‘One day you need to explain to me what I did that you treat me like this.
‘The club has changed since I left; now they are competing at the highest level – with Real Madrid and Barca.
‘Simeone has been a big reason for my return. He transmits the confidence that the club needs.’
Torres walked around the pitch and booted signed footballs into the crowd and kissed the Atletico badge as he waved to the fans.
Up until 2011 Torres built his reputation as one of the finest strikers on the planet. A Madrid local, he scored at a rate of one in three for Atletico as a youngster before a £20million move to Liverpool, where he didn’t disappoint.
Torres went on to score 65 goals in 102 Premier League games while on Merseyside, but his stock rapidly decreased after a £50m switch to Chelsea where he failed to live up to expectations.
But nevertheless fans and players alike seem delighted to welcome back El Nino. Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin dedicated their goals to Torres with his celebration during the win against Levante on Saturday as he watched on from the stands.
Uruguayan defender Godin said: ‘Fernando is a player of the house that has generated great enthusiasm, he has come to contribute and he wants to make things right.’ — Daily Mail