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- El Nino is Finally here at Anfield
- Me, Myself, and I
- Full name: Fernando José Torres Sanz
Date of birth: March 20, 1984 (1984-03-20) (age 23)
Place of birth: Madrid, Spain
Height: 1.86 m
Playing position: Striker
Previous Club:Atletico Madrid
Current Club: Liverpool
Fernando José Torres Sanz (born March 20, 1984) is a Spanish football player. He was born in Fuenlabrada, a large suburban town south of Madrid and was the youngest player to play for Atlético Madrid and the youngest to become captain (at age 19). Nicknamed 'El Niño' (The Kid) for his youthful looks, Torres is a striker for Spain and Liverpool.
Torres scored 75 goals over 5 seasons in the Spanish top flight, with only Samuel Eto' and David Villa scoring more in the same period. Torres also played two seasons in the second division where he scored 7 goals in 40 games.
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In 1994, at the age of ten, Torres scored 55 goals in his first season with an eleven-a-side team, Rayo 13, and won himself a trial with Atlético Madrid. He impressed and joined the club in 1995. After progressing through the ranks for a few seasons Torres won his first important youth title in 1998. Atlético sent an under-15 team to compete in Nike Cup Europe against youth teams from such teams as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Milan, Manchester United and Juventus. Atlético won the tournament with Torres their leading player. He was later voted as the best player in Europe for that age-group.
In 1999, Torres signed his first contract with the club. In 2000 he broke his leg and didn't return to action until December. Toward the end of the 2000–01 season Torres made his first team debut for Atlético. The date was May 27, 2001, the venue El Calderón and the opponent Leganés. He scored his first goal for the club the following week, in a game against Albacete.
2001–02 saw Atlético win promotion back to La Liga. The then 17-year-old Torres didn't have the best of seasons in front of goal though, netting only 6 times in 36 appearances in the Segunda División. In November Torres represented Spain at the 2001 FIFA U-17 World Championship. He scored one goal in three games, but the team didn't progress past the group stage. Later that season in July, Torres won the 2002 UEFA European Under-19 Football Championship. Again he scored the only goal in the final and ended as the tournament's leading goalscorer (4 goals in 4 games) and best player.
2002 saw Atlético Madrid returning to the first division of Spanish football. In his first season playing in the top division, Torres did not find the transition from second tier football too much of a hindrance as he scored 13 goals as Atlético finished 12th. He also made his debut for the Spanish U21 team.
In 2003–2004 Torres made further strides as he scored 19 league goals in just 35 appearances. He was also named as Atlético's club captain aged just 19. Atlético also improved, but were pipped for a UEFA Cup place on the final day of the season as they finished 7th behind Sevilla due to goal difference in the two team's head-to-head record (2-1, 0-2).
Atlético's 7th place finish in 2004 did qualify them for the Intertoto Cup, giving Torres his first taste of European club competition. They made the final, but agonisingly lost on penalties, this time to Villarreal.
After the 2006 World Cup, which Torres particpated as a member of the Spain National Team, Torres admitted that he turned down the chance to join Chelsea after the end of the 2005-06 season.
Again in 2007, Torres's future at Madrid was the subject of much speculation after Atlético's inability to secure a UEFA Cup spot. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were all linked with a move for the player. Following the end of the 2006-07 season, reports in the English media stated that Torres was the main transfer target of Liverpool.
The rumours reached such a fever pitch that Atlético president Enrique Cerezo made a statement saying "We've received no offer from Liverpool or any other club or player". However, a few days later new reports suggested that Atletico had agreed a deal with Liverpool for Torres, the fee rumoured was £20 million with Luis Garcia moving in the opposite direction in a separate transfer deal. Then on 30 June Atlético announced a deal with Villareal to sign Diego Forlán (seen as a potential replacement for Torres).
On July 2 it was reported that Torres had cut short his holiday to fly back to Madrid to finalize the move. The next day Torres passed a medical for Liverpool and it was announced that a farewell press conference would be held in Madrid the on 4 July to bid farewell to the Atlético Madrid fans. Later that day, Atlético officially confirmed his transfer to Liverpool on their website.
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