I enjoyed the interview Matallanas did with el Niño Torres recently after he announced that he would retire from football and laid out his plans. I can't say I was surprised because a year ago, he came to AS, ate with us and left you with the sense that here was a footballer who hadn't lost his common sense throughout what has been a great professional career. Many of them get confused and I excuse it. You would have to see how you would cope with such a conflict, loaded up with money and fame before you turn 25 and with all of your desires met. The easiest thing is to become conceited but that didn't happen with el Niño Torres.
What struck me in particular was him saying he would not go to Atlético and do nothing or to act as a spokesperson or a liaison for the squad: "For what I want to do, I have to be a part of it." He wants to return to Atlético, where he mentally never left, even though he went to play elsewhere and he has one objective. That is to contribute in making the club stronger. He feels able to do such a thing because he respects himself, football and Atlético Madrid enough to not just go back and do any old thing. He could make his status as a club legend profitable but he wouldn't feel comfortable doing just that. He wants to offer more.
His goodbye will be very soon in a game against Villa and Iniesta. The Vienna generation have come a long way and clocked up the years, like everything in life, and with Casillas undecided over his future, and those still left playing over in Japan, the only one left will be Sergio Ramos. But all of these players are immortal. They will live on in our memory in unshakeable fashion. Torres' goal against Germany, and Zarra's goal against England in 1950, and Marcelino's against the USSR in 1964 and Iniesta's goal against Holland in 2010 are peak moments of our football that could also include Casillas' save on Robben in the final too.
The good old days...