Fernando Torres has spoken honestly about his time spent with Atletico Madrid, saying the club "will always" be in his heart as he refused to rule out a return to the Vicente Calderon.
The Spaniard reminisced during an interview with Javier G. Matallanas of AS, a chat published to coincide with his 30th birthday. He speaks fondly of the Rojiblancos, insisting he cannot rule out the possibility of a future return:
In football, you never know. You don’t know where you’re going to be tomorrow, in a week’s time or in ten years’ time. How can I answer that question!
I’ve had a lot of admiration for 'El Cholo' [Diego Simeone] ever since we were team-mates. He helped me a lot. He taught me how to be a captain; he taught me a lot in the seasons we played together at Atleti. I always want to work with people I admire.
Torres remained philosophical, saying, "You never know where life is going to take you." He also said that few predicted he would end up playing for Rafa Benitez at two different clubs.
The interview comes just a day after Wayne Veysey of Goal.com reported Atletico are "keen" on re-signing Torres during the summer. Although the striker has suffered a disappointing spell at Chelsea, he would be welcomed back to Madrid with open arms.
Torres' career is best defined by international success. He is a two-time UEFA European Championship winner and helped Spain to World Cup victory in 2010, but his club performances have stuttered with inconsistency since he left Liverpool in 2011.
He has scored seven goals in 26 appearances across the Premier League and Champions League this term, per WhoScored.com, but he has been ousted away recently from Chelsea's first team by Samuel Eto'o.
Jose Mourinho deployed Torres for a measly five minutes during the Blues' European win over Galatasaray, a decision that marks the striker as largely unneeded at Stamford Bridge. James Olley of the London Evening Standard reported the following:
You have to wonder what Fernando Torres makes of it all. Perpetually upstaged by Didier Drogba during the Ivorian’s time at Chelsea, the night his nemesis returned to Stamford Bridge also provided further evidence that Samuel Eto’o will be Jose Mourinho’s man for the big occasion.
Torres' best moment as a Chelsea player came when he broke free of the Barcelona defence and rounded Victor Valdes during the 2012 Champions League semi-final at the Camp Nou. He slotted home a late goal to confirm a 3-2 aggregate victory, a win that would ultimately help land Roberto Di Matteo's squad the ultimate prize in club football.
Atletico have enjoyed success of their own, winning two UEFA Europa League titles, two UEFA Super Cups and the Copa del Rey since he left. Simeone's use of David Villa, who has proved effective in a slightly wider role since moving from Barca, signals he could rejuvenate the career of Torres if he was given the chance.
The striker's situation certainly points toward a future return. Unwanted at Chelsea beyond this season and now into his 30s, it must be an attractive prospect for the Atletico legend to head home. Torres has the qualities to significantly impact the capital-based team, and Simeone may just be the man to rekindle the spark that forced Chelsea to drop £50 million on his services just three years ago.