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Torres's love for the game

Published: Wednesday 18 March 2009, 14.28CET
Fernando Torres discusses his first steps in football and the keys to his early success.
Torres's love for the game

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Published: Wednesday 18 March 2009, 14.28CET

Torres's love for the game

Fernando Torres discusses his first steps in football and the keys to his early success.

In an exclusive interview with the UEFA Training Ground, Liverpool FC striker Fernando Torres discusses his first steps in football, the keys to his early success and the role of the coach. The Spanish international scored the winning goal in the UEFA EURO 2008™ final, but here the 24-year-old former Club Atlético de Madrid star reveals how it all might have been so different had he been allowed to play in goal like his brother. To watch the interview in the UEFA Training Ground, click here.

First steps …
My first team when I was a kid was called Parque 84, because we were all born in 1984. I was five years old. At four or five, just imagine, all running after the ball. My family doesn't have a great football tradition. They are not the type of family that gathered at weekends to follow the matches so there was no clear team. The only one who supported a team was my grandfather who was a die-hard Atlético fan and that's why I support Atlético.

On playing in goal …
My love for football has more to do with my brother, who was a goalkeeper for the team of Fuenlabrada and he needed somebody to take shots at him and train him. As a younger brother that was my job. That's how I got involved and started to enjoy it. I wanted to be like my brother, just like every young boy, so I wanted to be a goalkeeper but he didn't let me. He said: "I'm the goalkeeper and you have to take shots." I always liked that position. When I was young I played a few matches as a goalkeeper, but once when I was playing on a cement pitch I broke my teeth diving to save a ball, so my brother and above all my mother forbade me to play as a goalkeeper.

On support …
The support of my family was very important to my development especially my father and brother. All of them gave their time, leaving work or studies aside, to support me. It was also important my parents didn't put any pressure on me. You see fathers watching their kids' matches as though it was a professional game where they can say whatever they want. Treating kids that way is just horrible. I was lucky because my mother always told me: "Don't play for our sake. If one day you are tired of playing for Atlético then so be it. You can stay here and play in the neighborhood." You have to be happy, it's about having fun and nothing else.

On joining Atlético …
We did a trial match with lots of kids, a 20-minute game, playing eleven against eleven ... so you had 20 minutes to impress them. It went well for me. I went through all the tests until I got to the minor categories at Atlético. I progressed every year, always playing with kids mostly one or two years older. It was important to compete with older people who are better than you, technically and physically stronger, and think more than you. It helped me grow. I matured a lot sooner and when I turned 17 I was in the first team. Everything went pretty fast from then on, when I look back and I can't even remember it clearly.

On coaching …
The coach is often the person who keeps you balanced. When you start to think too much of yourself they have to help you iron out your faults and improve your virtues. To have a coach who idolises you is bad. The coach has to be consistent and always remind you that you can always improve. Even when you score two or three goals you could still have done some things better. That's a real coach. I was lucky to have worked with many like that, who will put a break on your euphoria and tell you what a disaster you were in defence. That is the kind of coach you want, one who will teach you and expect more of you every day.

On Luis Aragonés …
[At Atlético] he taught me not only how to behave on the pitch but also how to behave in the dressing room. Being a young player you have to be the first to arrive and the last to leave. Also, how to respect your team-mates: be humble and not speak too much. These are things we're losing in the dressing room, but I think they're important. On the pitch he made me suffer. He left me on the bench or even in the stands. I was substituted in a lot of matches because he would expect a lot of me. I had two years with him and once he was gone I missed him and all the chats, the reprimanding and the desire he has for you to do better. At the time you can't see it because you think he's asking too much of you but like everything in life, once it's gone you realise how much you miss it.

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