Fernando José Torres Sanz is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a striker for the Spain national team. Torres started his career with Atlético Madrid, progressing through their youth system to the first-team squad. He made his first-team debut in 2001 and finished his time at the club with 75 goals in 174 La Liga appearances. Prior to his La Liga debut, Torres played two seasons in the Segunda División for Atlético, making 40 appearances and scoring seven goals. Torres joined Premier League club Liverpool in 2007, after signing for a club record transfer fee. He marked his first season at Anfield by being Liverpool’s first player since Robbie Fowler in the 1995–96 season to score more than 20 league goals in a season. The most prolific goalscoring spell of his career, he became the fastest player in Liverpool history to score 50 league goals. He was named in the FIFA World XI in 2008 and 2009. Torres left the club in January 2011 to join Chelsea for a British record transfer fee of £50 million, which made him the most expensive Spanish player in history. In his first full season at Chelsea, Torres won the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. The following season, he scored in the final of the 2012–13 UEFA Europa League, helping Chelsea to win the competition for the first time. Torres is a Spanish international and made his debut against Portugal in 2003. He has been capped over 100 times and is his country’s third-highest goalscorer of all-time. With Spain, he has participated in six major tournaments: UEFA Euro 2004, the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup, Euro 2012, and the 2014 World Cup. Spain won the three tournaments from 2008 to 2012, with Torres scoring in the finals of both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He scored the winning goal in the 2008 European Championship, and won the Golden Boot for highest goalscorer in 2012.
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Born in Fuenlabrada, Community of Madrid, Torres became interested in football as a child and joined his first team, Parque 84, at age five. His father, José Torres, worked during Torres’ childhood, and his mother, Flori Sanz, travelled daily with him to training sessions. His grandfather was not a passionate football fan, but took pride in being an Atlético Madrid supporter, and Torres inherited his love for the club. Torres began playing football as a goalkeeper, the position his brother played in. At age seven, however, he started playing regularly as a striker in an indoor league for the neighbourhood club, Mario’s Holland, using the characters from the anime Captain Tsubasa as inspiration. Three years later, aged 10, he progressed to an 11-side team, Rayo 13. He scored 55 goals in a season and was one of three Rayo 13 players to earn a trial with Atlético. He impressed the scouts and joined the club’s youth system at age 11 in 1995. Torres has been described as having “an eye for the spectacular” and being “capable of world-class skill”, as well as being regarded as a “technically proficient, highly successful striker”. He has the ability to find himself in goalscoring positions, using his pace and vision to get in behind defenders. A hard-working striker, he is also known for his willingness to chase down and put pressure on opposing defenders, and is capable of playing off his teammates and creating chances for other strikers, in addition to scoring goals himself; this has also seen him be deployed in a deeper role as a second striker on occasion. Being strong in the air, and an accurate finisher with his head as well as both feet, in his prime, his prolific goalscoring earned him a reputation as one of the top strikers in the world. However, several injuries led to a loss of form, pace, confidence and a decreased goalscoring rate in more recent seasons.