REAL MADRID - ATLÉTICO
Torres looking to continue finals record against Real Madrid
Atlético Madrid striker Torres has scored in four out of five finals for Spain. Could he repeat the feat in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on 28 May?
Fernando Torres is a footballer who knows how to make his mark on football’s biggest occasions. He’s shown it time and time again when it matters, predominantly with the Spanish national team, and most memorably when he bagged the only goal of the Euro 2008 final, ending Spain’s 44 year wait for a trophy.
Even prior to that famous goal against the Germans, El Niño had already earned himself a reputation for being a decisive goal scorer in his native country, getting the winner at the Under 16 European Championship final against France in 2001. A year after, he repeated the feat in the final of the Under 19 Euros competition in a 1-0 victory, once again downing Germany in a precursor to what would happen six years later in Austria.
Amazingly, the World Cup 2010 is the only time where Torres hasn’t found the back of the net in a final for Spain, although he did play a part in the run up to Iniesta’s historic strike against Holland. Like in South Africa, the Atletico striker came on as a substitute in the final of Euro 2012, where he provided a goal and an assist as Spain thrashed Italy 4-0.
Champions League winners
The former Liverpool man’s uncanny ability to pop up at the right time has also been a theme of his club career. During his time at Anfield, he scored in the semi-finals of the Champions League against Chelsea in 2008, although the Reds failed to progress to the final on that occasion. However, after later moving to Chelsea, his wonderful solo goal in the semis of the 2012 edition of the continental competition – in which he rounded Barcelona’s Victor Valdes in a one-on-one to send the Azulgrana packing – would this time send his team through to the tournament’s showpiece, where the Blues would go on to defeat Bayern and pick up the cup.
Europa League heroics
The following season, Torres made his mark in the latter stages of yet another knock-out competition, this time in Chelsea’s Europa League semi-final tie against Basel – scoring in both of the London club’s victories over two legs – while he got one more in the final against Benfica, where Chelsea ended up as 2-1 winners.
Two seasons ago, the 32 year old was involved in his last key act at Chelsea, firing Jose Mourinho’s men ahead in their Champions League second leg match against former (and future) club Atletico, although it was a game they’d go on to lose 3-1 to Los Rojiblancos.
Another final goal?
Having missed his opportunity to continue his remarkable record on the biggest of stages this season – his penalty kick in the recent CL semi-final against Bayern was saved by Manuel Neuer – after the game Torres was unsurprisingly confident he’d get another chance this Saturday against Real Madrid to write his name down in history. “We’ll save the goal for the final,” he said.