Fernando Torres tells UEFA.com he is finally settling at Chelsea FC and as they visit FC Basel 1893 he admits "it's not been easy for anyone but I think the team is improving".
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Apparently Fernando Torres is in a career crisis, despite having won the UEFA Champions League (scoring a vital semi-final clincher) and UEFA EURO 2012 (taking the adidas Golden Boot) in the last 12 months, and this season reached 20 goals (usually the benchmark for a striker).
On Thursday, his Chelsea FC side continue their bid to join the select band of clubs to have won the three major continental trophies when they visit FC Basel 1893 for their UEFA Europa League semi-final first leg. Ahead of the tie, the 29-year-old Torres spoke to UEFA.com about the importance of the competition to Chelsea, finding form at Stamford Bridge, being reunited with Rafael Benítez and memories of Munich last May.
UEFA.com: How important is the UEFA Europa League to Chelsea?
Fernando Torres: We have a young squad and we need to learn winning ways, and this is a very good way. It is not the Champions League but it is the Europa League. Now we're in the semi-finals, everyone can see we want to win, and the team, I think, is happy.
The competition is helping the team a lot, because it is giving us a lot of satisfaction – not like in the Premier League this season, and we lost the semi-final of the FA Cup, so we were also close. But the Europa League is keeping us in a good mood and thinking it could be a good season.
UEFA.com: Have you changed or adapted as a striker at Chelsea?
Torres: Every day you learn new things and you change a little bit. You are the kind of player that you are all your life, but I think the key is to adapt to a new system, new players, a new style of football, and that takes some time. In my case maybe more than it should, but after a couple of seasons here I can see how different the team is compared to when I arrived, with different players.
We have to be clever and focused in the adaptation of the new ideas of the team, the manager, the kind of football we're playing now. I think this is the main difference. I think my mind is open, more open than before, and I can see what I have to do to improve.
UEFA.com: Of all your honours, was the UEFA Champions League win in Munich the greatest?
Torres: Sure, it is the top one. I have said many times: this is the trophy I wanted to win all my life. It was my real dream. When I was a kid, I remember I went to Atlético Madrid's stadium when I was 12 or 13 and they qualified for the Champions League for the first time in many years.
I remember watching Ajax, Dortmund and top teams in Europe playing there. And at that time I was thinking: this is the trophy I want to play for one day – just to play in the competition ... and to win it, why not? That was a real dream as a kid, as a player, it was the trophy I wanted to win.