Will this be the final Madrid derby for Fernando Torres?
El Niño has not been seeing much action this season and Diego Costa's availability from January may see the striker leave the Metropolitano.
If Fernando Torres makes an appearance on November 18 in the Metropolitano it will be a 21st Madrid derby for the striker but the question is will it be his last? El Niño is now 33 years old and although he earned a one-year extension to his deal last summer he has barely featured this season under Diego Simeone. With December approaching, Torres has only played 332 minutes in 10 games across all competitions and made only one start in the league, against Girona in the opening game of 2017-18.
In Atlético’s last three Liga fixtures Torres has not featured at all and he is yet to find the back of the net in the current campaign. After starting out as Antoine Griezmann’s strike partner in Girona, Torres has slipped down the pecking order behind Ángel Correa, Luciano Vietto and Kevin Gameiro.
Costa return puts Torres' future in doubt
“I am playing every game as though it was the last in this shirt,” Torres said recently and the striker is under no illusions as to the possible panorama awaiting in January, when Diego Costa and Vitolo will be both be cleared to play after the expiry of Atlético’s ban on registering new players.
Torres has played a waiting game ever since his return to the Calderón in January 2015. He has rarely had an interrupted run in the side and has generally had to bide his time while others have faltered. He has though scored three times against Real Madrid in an Atlético shirt. His first came in 2006-07, in his final derby before he moved to Liverpool. The other two were scored in his first, a few days after his return from Milan.
The striker turned down lucrative offers from China and Mexico in the summer to do his part during Atlético’s transition from the Calderón to their new stadium but he would not have wanted his final season with his boyhood club to become an extended testimonial. It remains to be seen what Torres will decide in January when Costa returns to the fold.
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