Fernando Torres insists he was perfectly willing to take a penalty in Chelsea’s Champions League final shoot-out on Saturday night, but admitted manager Roberto Di Matteo wouldn’t let him.
In the moments before the fateful shoot-out against Bayern Munich, the Spanish striker could be seen emotionally arguing with Di Matteo. Many assumed it was because the manager wanted the striker to take a kick against his wishes. It now transpires, however, that Torres was adamant on being one of the five but was relegated to seventh.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, the striker said: “I did want to kick one, but they wouldn’t let me.”
Saying the words with a resigned smile on his face, the statement reflected what was a mixed night for the forward as he also discussed his future at the club and his hopes for Spain’s Euro 2012 squad.
Upset at again being left on the bench for such an important game — even though he did come on to energetic effect — Torres admitted he now has to think about his next move.
“I need the club to tell me what is going to happen and what sort of role I will have within the team, what my duties are, what the club expects of me and then judge whether it is worth it.”
Despite Torres’s concerns, it seems he shouldn’t worry. This paper understands that, with Didier Drogba fully expected to leave the club, Roman Abramovich will be insistent that either Di Matteo or any new manager builds the club’s future system around the Spanish striker.
Drogba refused to admit or deny he would be leaving Stamford Bridge after his Champions League-winning display but did make a point of thanking all the staff at the club at the end of his press conference before making an emotional speech in the dressing-room to his team-mates.
The fact John Terry was then reported to have been singing Please don’t go to Drogba on the team bus would only appear to confirm the Ivorian wants a new beginning.
As such, Torres may get one at Chelsea.
Meanwhile, the Spanish striker also said he is fully hopeful of being named in Vicente Del Bosque’s final Euro 2012 squad next Monday.
“I’m off to Ibiza on Tuesday for a break but the squad is announced next Monday and I retain hope I will be in it. I’ve got more drive to be in it than ever.”
Of course, the doubts about Torres’s inclusion come because of a difficult 18 months at club level. Elsewhere, he admitted to Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague it has all affected him personally.
“It’s contradictory because I feel like I’m at a peak moment in my career, with more desire and hunger than I’ve felt in a long time but I’ve had to spend the final on the bench. It was a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest in my life.
“I thought I would play in this game and I couldn’t imagine not doing so. But in the end I could participate and offer the team something. I’m really happy.
“This season I have felt things that I never had before. I’ve felt like they treated me in a way that I didn’t expect. Not in the way that was spoken of when they signed me. We’ve had a lot of talks and we’ll talk about my future. And especially to the fans, if it hadn’t been for them this season I would have given up.”
Torres, however, did defend Chelsea’s style in winning the Champions League.
“The league season was very bad, not like Chelsea the last few years, but in the cups we showed we are champions. We showed we are the team who were best at adapting to different circumstances and strategies.
“Like I said, we knew how to adapt the circumstances. Teams might have been better than us in many aspects, except in drive. I thought today destiny gave Chelsea something that was taken away from it in Moscow and I’m delighted for everyone. This club had the ambition of winning this trophy and they’ve done it now.
“The people don’t remember the losers. We played against a team in their own home, with three quarters of the stadium behind them... they had the chance to be champions and lost it and our moment arrived.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved