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Torres savours third medal of season

July 3, 2012

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• Peripheral roles fail to take gloss off striker’s success
• Golden boot at Euro 2012 is icing on the cake

Fernando Torres is ready to put a “complicated” campaign behind him and bask in the three major titles he has help ed claim for club and country, with the Chelsea forward convinced the new season will bring greater personal involvement.

The Spain forward was reduced to cameo roles as the Premier League club recovered their poise to win the FA Cup and, most impressively, the Champions League in May, with Torres’s impact being felt mainly from the bench. That trend rather continued at Euro 2012 where he started only three of six games and yet still ended the tournament with three goals, including his side’s third in Sunday’s final, which was enough to win the Euro 2012 golden boot award.

Torres’s crisp finish beyond Gianluigi Buffon six minutes from time established him as the only player to have scored in two European Championship finals, following his winner against Germany at Euro 2008. That helped erase some of the memories of his initial toils at Chelsea and life on the fringes at the finals themselves. “It was a complicated season for me,” he said. “It doesn’t mean it was bad, far from it, but it was complicated with very difficult moments for me. But to see my family happy after the final, you see whatever happened during the season was worth it.

“I will leave the poor memories behind and just remember the three titles, with this final against Italy so beautiful for the team, the whole country and everyone who follows Spain. To see my children enjoying it all and so happy was the most beautiful moment for me. After a year that was so tough, and during which we suffered so much, it made it all worth it. I’m sure the Chelsea fans will also be happy. Now I have to rest and make sure I am ready for next season, which I’m sure will be full of great moments. At least, I have to think like that.”

Torres was effectively the victim of Vicente del Bosque’s tactic of playing no recognised centre-forward and, instead, cramming his team with creative midfielders. Yet the striker still registered a brace against the Irish and the late goal on Sunday to claim the golden boot as he had spent less time on the pitch than Germany’s Mario Gomez, who had also contributed three goals and an assist at Euro 2012. “This is an antidote [to the limited involvement],” he added. “I didn’t have as many minutes on the pitch as I used to in previous tournaments, but these are the finals where I scored the most goals. Football throws up these things.

“Playing in a national team like this gives you the chance to make history. We have won two Euros now and I’m so happy and proud. But there is a lot more left for this team to achieve. We have a lot of ambition and targets ahead of us. We will enjoy the celebrations, of course, but our heads are already turned to the Confederations Cup [in 2013] and the World Cup [in 2014]. I hope the majority of this squad can be there.

“It’s not been easy. To win three consecutive major tournaments had never happened in the history of the game, so we have to evaluate it. The numbers say this team is the best. But, luckily, we are not finished yet. Of course I want more. It’s clear. When you win, you want more. And we are realistic. If you see the age of the team, and the people who maybe didn’t have many minutes on the pitch, then you will see important people for the future. They are coming from behind and there’s a lot more left in us for a while yet.

“There is Juan [Mata], for example. He had a difficult Euros and hadn’t played a minute, but came on and I was lucky enough to give him the pass for his goal [only 74 seconds after his introduction]. He deserved to enjoy this as much as all the others, and that was one of the most beautiful things about this final: to see him laugh and be happy after some difficult weeks. He had been our best player at Chelsea last season, so to see him in the background with the national team … well, he deserved his moment of glory.” Read More

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