"What do you mean you've hurt 'your' knee, it's Liverpool's knee" - Bill Shankly.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fernando Torres Interview 06-2009

Epic Fernando Torres Interview with El Pais: This is a MUST read

 

There were some Fernando Torres quotes floating around cyberspace this morning from an interview he did recently with El Pais. Whilst the quotes in the paper were open and honest on subjects from Rafa to moving from Madrid, they just don't do the entire article justice. It's beyond refreshing to see a player of Torres' calibre give an interview like this.

Massive, Massive thanks to Libertina Warbeck over at RAWK for taking the time to translate the interview. It may be a bit long, but I can assure you it'll be one of the best interviews you've read in a while.

Torres opens up about living in Liverpool to becoming a father, as well as his view on Ronaldo's move and Xabi Alonso. Take the time to read this. I promise you'll not be disappointed.

El Pais's interview with Fernando Torres, after the jump.

“Madrid Was Killing Me”
Fernando opens up in an interview with El Pais. He looks you in the eye when he speaks; talking in a measured tone, but with an elaborate discourse which makes his sentences even more weighted. At 25 years old, Torres hopes that this afternoon’s match against South Africa will be his last match of the season. “The boss decides, but if he wants me to, I’ll be delighted to play,” he said last Thursday, one day after the defeat to the United States, which will prevent him from taking on the role he did in Vienna a year ago, when his precious goal awarded Spain the European Championship title.

What’s left of El Nino?
What does the word encapsulate? When I joined Atleti’s first team I was just a boy, like all those who go up from the youth team, I suppose. But it was my lot to remain with the nickname, perhaps because at 18 years old I was already captain. It was an enormous responsibility, excessive and unnecessary. A historic club such as Atleti should never have allowed itself such a luxury; but the situation—economic and sports-wise—was complicated, and that deflected attention to other things, which meant we weren’t able to take care of the small details.

And now, at 25 years old, you are part of a group of Captains in the National Team, but fourth or fifth in line. Lesson learned, perhaps?
In the National Team I have had the time to progress. There are far more veteran teammates and I learn from them. I still share a dressing room with people who were there when I just arrived. In Atletico, after three years there was no one left from the first squad.

So complicated was Atletico?
Very difficult. A difficult club. They survive on their history, and if they are a great club it’s because of that history. But nowadays it’s not competing as a great club. Madrid and Barcelona are very much ahead of them. Even Valencia and Sevilla have got to the top. But people continue to live on the dreams of old days, but the reality is quite different.

I remember that Luis—when he took charge of the team the year when we got promoted, he warned: “To recover the lost time we need about 5 years.” Just five years, that’s all we needed to get back to the Champions League. But it was very difficult to get it into people’s heads that we were not the Atleti of the old days, that we needed five, six, seven years to get back to where we once were.

Has this Confederations Cup brought home to you how famous you are?
It’s enough to walk out at Anfield to see it. Outside of Spain I am accustomed to receiving affection from people. I have that in Liverpool and in the Premier League. English football has an enormous trajectory, but not because of the players, but rather for its organization, its gravitas, the repercussions (for everyone), its order … The grounds are always filled, the pitches in perfect condition, the television rights are distributed evenly amongst all the clubs…From all of this there is much to learn. Other leagues will have great players—Madrid has signed Cristiano, for example, and Xavi and Messi are also in the same league…But in terms of organization and how they engage with the rest of the world, the Premier League is way ahead of la Liga or Calcio.

Does Ronaldo’s decision surprise you?
I am sure he has his own personal motives, he’s in need of new challenges, new experiences. He’s done it all in Manchester, there wasn’t much margin left for improvement.

As a Liverpool player, does it scare you that United now has 94 million Euros to spend on new players?
I would have preferred if that money had been invested in Spain, but I suppose it prevents other Spanish clubs from seeking reinforcements. As far as we’re concerned, our great rival has a lot of money to improve their squad, but it will be difficult for them to find players of the calibre of Tevez or Ronaldo.

Can Liverpool afford to sell Xabi Alonso?
It would be a great…well, a bad move. But I have to think of Xabi’s well-being above all. He’s quite a hermit in some ways. The truth is that I don’t really know what’s going on inside his head. He has three years left on his contract and I would like him to stay with us. It would be a massive (grave) loss.

You once said that Luis (Aragonès) was tough on you. How about Benítez?
Benítez doesn’t get quite as 'up and personal' as Luis. Luis is a motivator that gets you going just by his way of being, because if you don’t pull your weight he has no qualms about leaving you behind. Rafa is more about the professional aspect…He wants you to improve on every single detail and in every movement, and he always explains why. He is obsessed with the idea of doing things because you understand—you must understand the reason why he asks you to do it. It’s not about him saying ‘do this because I say so.’ Not at all.

“Do it this way, for this reason. Do you understand? No? Well, let me explain.” That’s Benítez. I remember that when he signed me I was being widely criticized for not being a well-known goalscorer. The first thing he told me was that I was signed to score goals. Benítez is adamant that you live in the area (the 18 yard box) because according to him goals are scored in that area. That was the first thing he said to me, that the wings are for wing players and the striker must concern himself with the central defenders. In the National Team it is totally different, you have to move around. In Liverpool I focus on the central defender so that Gerrard can enter the area unnoticed.

Are English defenders very hard to deal with?
No, physically, they are hard. But they are also less disciplined. It is more difficult to create scoring opportunities, but when you do get them out of position they are more vulnerable. For that reason teams like Manchester and Chelsea are more competitive, because defensively they are quite organized. For any English team, if they’ve got a bit of quality up front it gets really competitive.

Is that what Liverpool are lacking?
We are lacking impact players on the flanks, like Tevez and Ronaldo are for United. Players that make a difference in home games. In fact, Liverpool has lost league titles at home, against mid-table teams. We need people like Iniesta, Silva, Cazorla, Mata…We need quality and people who can wreak havoc on the flanks.

Was the hardest part of adapting to England understanding Benítez in English?
When in the presence of other people, he always spoke to me in English. When alone, in Spanish. At first I didn’t understand the timetables, I didn’t know where I was supposed to go…I didn’t understand anything. Thank goodness Álvaro {Arbeloa}, Xabi and Pepe {Reina} were there. I remember Pepe telling me when I arrived to prepare to have fun.

And he was right?
I asked him about Anfield and he said to me: “Until you see it, you wont understand.” On my debut, against Chelsea, while we were greeting each other and the fans were singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone,’ I remember him coming up to me and whispering: “This is what I was talking about. Enjoy it.” I can’t even begin to describe the day when I discovered that they were coming up with a song in my honour.

How do the English regard the Spanish League?
With much interest; and with Barcelona as the main reference this year, there is much admiration. Everyone has seen how they were superior to Manchester. But the Spanish league is not watched with envy; it’s taken for granted that the Premier League is stronger, based on the results of English teams in the Champions League, of course.

We have spoken about Luis and Benítez. What is Vicente Del Bosque like?
I have a great relationship with him. We see him as one of us. Luis was a little bit like that, but there was also a line you could not cross: He was the boss (he ruled) and in any moment the line could be drawn. Del Bosque is closer to us. It is a much calmer environment.

What did he say during half-time, against the United States?
Since he had already warned us before the game…It was all about going over what he had told us: a fighting team that was going to put pressure on us up front, who would come looking for us…We could not say that we hadn’t been warned, so there was no excuse. What he told us would happen is exactly what happened. It was a there for all to see, so Vicente tried to raise our spirits and asked us to be patient.

Why did Spain lose?
Because they scored two goals with the two occasions they had while we created 29 chances and could not score. It’s one of those games where you think: out of ten, we would win nine. But we should win all ten. If this happens during a World Cup, we’re talking about something entirely different. So it should serve as a valuable experience. We have to learn from these things. We didn’t do anything wrong, but as we lost, we obviously did not do something totally right.

Are you one of those who thinks it’s better to lose now?
I think it’s best not to lose at all. It puts me in a very bad mood. And it takes me a long time to recover. There are teammates who, after 5 minutes they are up, trying to lift the group’s spirits, helping people get over it…but for me it is very hard to get over a defeat. To each his own. When I was captain they used to say to me: ‘You have to go and pull up your teammates.’ But I couldn’t; I don’t like to lose and I’m likely to spend the next three days in the dumps. And even more so with the National Team.

Well, people say you are quite cold.
I don’t know. It depends on the situation. I am not used to expressing my feelings outwardly; it just doesn’t suit me. It is nothing premeditated, and I’m not putting on airs. It’s difficult for me to open myself up; that’s true. I keep it all inside because I don’t want to contaminate those around me with my problems.

Superstitious?
Every day less and less so. I still have certain rituals if things are going well, but every day less and less. I used to be much worse than I am now.

And Luis, what did he used to say?
What could he say when he was much worse than me?! I remember one time he asked the grounds keeper to change the cones on the training ground because they were yellow. And the year we got promoted, our away jersey was yellow, no doubt. You should have seen his face when he came into the dressing room and saw us all dressed in yellow. We were winning 0-1 in Molinas in the 89th minute. They drew level in the 90th and Ledhiakov’s team ended up winning the match. Of course it was the jersey’s fault.

I think those little routines are very typical of footballers. More than superstitions, they are habits, customs. At the end of the day it’s all nonsense but it puts your mind at rest. In truth, football is a mental game and what a footballer needs is confidence, security.

And mentally, how does someone like you cope, especially as you are about to become a father?
Let’s say that my perspective on things has changed a lot in the last few years. Since I have been in Liverpool even more so. A huge weight of responsibility has been lifted off my shoulders, a responsibility which followed me at Atletico, with every step I took. I was a fan and the captain of the same team and that became unbearable. But, basically, in Liverpool I have gained a certain quality of life. Now I can go and do things that in Madrid were impossible. It might seem that since you are from there, you have everything to make you happy but it’s nothing like that. Madrid was killing me. I couldn’t go to the cinema, or shopping; the team was not doing well, it was a permanent anguish. In Liverpool everything is the opposite: you get used to winning, you can go out on the street, people respect you…

Football has taken you to South Africa. How would you describe your experience?
I was very curious about this country and it’s been a pleasant surprise. We thought it was going to be a disaster… that we wouldn’t be able to go out on the streets… that the facilities would be deplorable. They have a few things to improve, but the fundamental things are ready. For me it is important that Africa gets to put on this World Cup. I am enchanted with this continent that has been so mistreated…now it has the opportunity to show the world that it can do the same as any other. I remember seeing the first game with South Africa and was horrified that the fans were booing Booth. I couldn’t believe it.

A lot of us felt the same…
Sure, can you imagine that a country like this, that has suffered so much anguish because of race issues, could treat a white player this way? I was shocked. But later I found out through the internet that it was not racial abuse, but that he was in fact their idol…I was so relieved. It’s been fantastic for me to witness the South Africans’ capacity to heal the wounds of the past. It’s a lesson for us all. I really like the people here, especially the children, who froze up when they recognized me, with their mouths wide open. South Africa has shown me a lot of affection; the people smile; they are optimistic…I take away from here an unforgettable impression of this country and its people.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Labels

188Bet (2) Alberto Aquilani (1) Andre Villas Boas (2) Andy Carroll (1) Aragones (1) Babel (1) Barcelona (1) Barnes (1) blogs (1) Brad Jones (1) Brendan Rodgers (2) Capello (2) Casillas (2) Cristiano Ronaldo (1) Dalglish (5) Dalla Valle (1) Daniel Agger (1) Del Bosque (2) Diego Maradona (2) Eto'o (1) Euro08 (1) Everton (1) Evra (1) Fergie (2) Fernando Torres (5) Fitness (1) Football tactics (46) Freak Goals (1) funny (2) Gaffs (1) Gary Lineker (1) Gerrard (4) Guardiola (3) Harry Redknapp (1) Herrera (1) Highlights (1) Hillsborough (2) Hodgson (3) Howard Webb (1) Jan Molby (2) Javier Mascherano (2) Joe Cole (1) John Aldridge (2) John Barnes (1) Jonjo Shelvey (1) Jordan Henderson (2) Jose Segura (1) Juan Mata (1) Just for a Laugh (1) Kenny Dalglish (7) Kolo Toure (1) Kuyt (3) LeBron James (1) Level 3 (2) Lionel Messi (3) Liverpool FC (1) Lucas (4) Lucas Leiva (2) Luis Enrique (1) Luis Suarez (9) Mancini (1) Martin Skrtel (2) Maxi Rodriguez (1) micha (1) Michael Owen (1) Michels (1) Mourinho (3) Owen (1) Pablo Aimar (1) Patrice Evra (1) Pennant (1) Pepe Reina (1) Philippe Coutinho (2) Pre-season (1) Rafa (46) Ralf Rangnick (1) Ramos (1) Reina (2) Rodolfo Borrell (1) Roy Hodgson (14) rumours (1) Sacchi (2) Sebastian Coates (1) Shankly (1) Skills Challenge (3) Squad size (1) Squad worth (1) Steven Gerrard (2) Stewart Downing (2) Tevez (1) Thierry Henry (1) Thommo (1) Tomkins (12) Torres (3) Transfers (4) TV Competitions (3) UK Academy system (1) Xabi Alonso (2) youngsters (4) Youtube Scout (7) Zonal Marking (2)

Quote of the moment

Defying belief however, is a market Benitez has cornered quite well. The moment you think Benitez is clueless, he defies it by pulling off a result of majesty, like the one achieved in Madrid. The moment he is hailed a genius, he masterminds toothless surrender to a team going nowhere. In the ongoing Anfield power struggle, just when he was cornered by the firing squad, the Spaniard's demise at Liverpool looking practically assured with the ominous suspension of betting by the bookmakers, he squeezes out through a narrow trapdoor and eliminates Rick Parry. Rafa Benitez is Keyzer Soze.
- Just Football blog: The Curious Beast that is Football 28 Feb 2009