By Ian Chadband
Fernando Torres is returning to his beloved hometown club Atletico Madrid “in pursuit of happiness”, he said on Monday having had two less than distinguished spells at Chelsea and AC Milan.
The Spain striker, who has agreed to rejoin Atletico on loan from Milan until the end of next season, added that it was a dream to go back to the boyhood team he left seven years ago.
Thrilled about his return to the Vicente Calderon stadium where he was an idol, scoring 91 goals after making his debut at 17, the 30-year-old told the club website(en.clubatleticodemadrid.com): “I’m going to Atletico in pursuit of my happiness.
“When I was a child my dream was to play for Atletico. I achieved that and to come back now is another dream I get to accomplish again. I’ve been fine with other teams but there isn’t one like Atleti.
“Nobody can doubt how I’ll feel wearing that shirt again. Atletico appeared and I had no doubts. Atleti fans always demand your all on the field and I guarantee that I will give them that and more.”
Torres, who left Madrid for Liverpool in 2007 before moving on to Chelsea for a British record fee of 50 million pounds ($77.64 million) in 2011, will be presented to the fans on Sunday providing he passes a medical before then.
Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin said it was not a piece of business for the Spanish champions based on sentiment.
“To sign Torres we followed pure sporting criteria,” said Marin. “We want to continue to compete at the same level as in recent years and Fernando will help us stay there.
“All social, economic and club brand parameters were looked at after. The sporting aspect has always come first.”
Recalling why Torres originally left Atletico, Marin said: “In 2007 the economic crisis in Spain began and Fernando and ourselves decided to go our separate ways, to grow on our own, and that’s what we did.
“Now, in 2014, we meet again. We both did well individually and history brings us together once more.”
Torres, one of the world’s deadliest strikers during his first spell with Atletico and at Liverpool, struggled badly for goals at Chelsea and Milan.