Sun, Feb 06, 2011 - Page 7 News List

I’m no traitor, Fernando Torres says

AFP, LONDON

Fernando Torres insists he is not a traitor after Chelsea’s £50 million (US$77.4 million) striker was accused of betraying Liverpool.

Torres is set to make an emotionally-charged Chelsea debut against his former club today just a week after completing his controversial British record transfer from Liverpool.

Reds boss Kenny Dalglish admitted he was disappointed by the timing of Torres’ move, which was finalized just hours before the close of the transfer window.

Torres has been well below his best for much of this season and handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through the move once he became aware of Chelsea’s interest, prompting some fans and former players to claim the Spaniard had been sulking for months.

However, Torres is adamant he was always completely dedicated to the Liverpool cause and he slammed those who criticized the way he left Anfield.

“I think it is not fair. It makes no sense. I played three very good seasons there and scored lots of goals,” Torres said. “I understand it was a difficult situation, especially in the transfer window, but I have to think about my career.”

“Everyone will see it is a step forward. I know the plans Chelsea have for the future, the ambition they have and what they want to achieve,” he said. “They want to build a great team and keep competing with Man Utd and Man City to be the best club in England and to fight for the Champions League.”

“When I will be 45 I would like to look back and say I am really lucky to have this picture of me as a champion,” Torres said. “I explained my feelings and was honest with everyone.”

“Obviously they didn’t want me to leave, they tried to persuade me to stay but I told them I had made my decision,” he said.

During his time at Liverpool, Torres had appeared totally devoted to the Reds and even said he would never play for another English club.

That pledge was swiftly consigned to history once Liverpool began to struggle and Chelsea came calling, but Torres insists he has never been the badge-kissing type who takes the plaudits then walks out when the going gets tough.

However, he felt Liverpool’s decline had been too steep over the last 18 months, with the departures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano convincing Torres the club lacked ambition.

“I never kissed the Liverpool badge,” Torres said. “When I was born in Madrid I wasn’t a Liverpool or Chelsea fan. I’m an Atletico fan, maybe that is the only badge I would kiss.”

“People were talking about Liverpool winning the title or getting back in the top four but I could see from the beginning of the season that we would struggle,” he said. “When you have a chance to play for a team who can win the Champions League and Premier League and compete with the best then you have to take the chance.”

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