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Fernando Torres is fired up and pushing for a contract extension

El Niño, who has a habit of finishing seasons strongly, has struck a rich vein of form of late, although Tuesday’s red card will have dented his confidence.

Fernando Torres at Camp Nou

Fernando Torres did a fine impression of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde at Camp Nou on Tuesday. The 32-year-old played the role of hero first by putting Los Rojiblancos in front against Barça, but turned villain shortly afterwards when Felix Brych produced a second yellow card for the pumped up number 9 in the space of five minutes for two rash and unnecessary challenges.

In the barrel of footballing emotional states, El Niño’s spirits are now somewhere near the bottom. The bane of Barcelona will miss next week’s return leg against the Catalans at the Calderón, perhaps the greatest showpiece game he could hope for in his bid to lock down a contract extension. Despite the setback, he has experienced an upsurge in form in recent months and is living up to his reputation as a striker who finishes seasons strongly. Reports from the Manzanares state Diego Simeone is so impressed with the Madrid native’s performances that a new deal beckons in June, when his current contract runs out.

Since ending his goal drought against Eibar on 6 February, Torres has found the back of the net on five occasions in eleven games. Not bad at all considering he only started five of those encounters. In La Liga alone he has scored in four of his last seven appearances. The Atleti fan favourite capitalised on the international break to carry out a special fitness regime. Camp Nou sending off aside, his hard work seems to be paying off.