MADRID (AFP) – Fernando Torres has targeted trophies to add to the love of the Atletico Madrid faithful after he was presented in front of 45,000 fans at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday.
Torres was forced to watch from the stands as Atletico beat Levante 3-1 on Saturday as his move from AC Milan cannot be officially completed until the Italian transfer window opens on Monday.
However, El Nino, who captained Atletico before leaving for Liverpool in 2007, is set to make his second debut for the club against arch rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
“Off the pitch I have been through many things. On a personal level I am more mature and very happy to be here,” he said.
“On the sporting level things have changed too. At 24 I realised something very hard, that I needed to leave so that the club and I could grow.
“It was the most difficult moment of my career. The club has grown and time has proved us right. I have also won trophies, but I want to win trophies here.”
Ironically as Atletico’s status has soared in recent years following the appointment of Torres’s old teammate Diego Simeone as coach, the Spanish international has suffered a long-term slump.
The 30-year-old failed to live up to his price tag as the most expensive signing in British football history when he swapped Liverpool for Chelsea in 2011 for £50 million ($77 million) despite adding the Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup to the two European Championships and World Cup he won with Spain.
An unhappy four-month loan spell at Milan followed in which Torres scored just once in 10 appearances for the Italian giants.
Yet, he is still fondly remembered at the Calderon where he scored 82 goals in 214 appearances during his previous spell, including leading his boyhood club back to the top flight in 2002.
And Torres admitted that a return home was the boost he needed to re-energise his career.
“I needed something that would excite me and I could only find that here,” he added.
“You can see the response of the fans on a day like today.
“There are many people waiting who love Atletico Madrid. The fans have never been a problem for the team. They know that they win more points than any other team in Spain.
“I am sure that on Wednesday we will have an incredible derby.”