MADRID – Fernando Torres says that winning the Fifa World Cup back in 2010 in South Africa was beyond his wildest dreams.
“The World Cup, I never thought about it. I used to think it was for the likes of Brazil and Argentina, not for Spain,” he said.
“I could not see us winning it because it was never done. Now I am sure the kids behind us must think they can win it because we did.”
We are at the Ciudad Deportiva Atletico de Madrid, and Torres has just finished training with his teammates ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Leganes.
His face lights up as he finds out the group of media hounds he is about to address are from South Africa.
“Of course I love South Africa. We were there for the Confed Cup and we played in Bloemfontein. And then we won the World Cup, so it is a special place. It is like our second home, and it will be cool to go back to visit.”
But he admits it was a tough ask for La Furia Roja winning football’s ultimate prize.
“It was very hard to play in the highveld. It was very cold, and we lost our opening match against Switzerland. And then we won the other matches by small margins. It was a hard World Cup to win.”
Torres must be the world’s most successful player never to have won a league title.
It is somewhat of an oxymoron really, for a domestic championship is supposed to be the foundation of football success.
Torres, though, is the exception, the Spanish striker still chasing after a league crown while his cabinet is teeming with medals all football players crave.
He has won the ultimate title, the World Cup, as well as the European Championship (twice), the European Champions League as well as the Europa League.
Add the FA Cup to the mix and you should have a contented player who, at 33 years of age, must be ready to hang up his boots with no regrets.
But Torres still wants more.
“Winning the league title here will be a dream come true,” said Torres.
Having just finished training ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Leganes at the Wanda Metropolitan Stadium, Torres spoke at length to the South African media contingent visiting Spain.
“As a kid, I grew up wanting to win La Liga.”
That, however, did not happen in his first spell at the club. And not even a trek to the English Premier League could help, spells with Liverpool and Chelsea yielding all sorts of triumphs but the championship.
Neither a loan spell at Italian giants AC Milan could help.
Now that he is back home where his career began, Torres is hopeful he will win the La Liga title.
Many players, though, can but only dream of the kind of success he has had.
LA Liga Matches on SuperSport 7
8.55pm: Celta Vigo v Corona, 8.55pm
4.10pm: Seville v Malaga, 6.25pm: Levante v Alaves, 8.40pm: Leganes v Atletico Madrid
11.55am: Real Sociedad v Real Betis
4.10pm: Barcelona v Las Palmas
6.25pm: Valencia v Athletic Bilbao, Villarreal v Eibar (SS8)
8.40pm: Real Madrid v Espanyol