Torres, Griezmann On Target As Atletico Thrash Levante

Torres, Griezmann On Target As Atletico Thrash Levante
Atletico Madrid’s Spanish forward Fernando Torres (L) shoots to score a goal during the football match against Levante UD at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid on April 15, 2018. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Fernando Torres marked the announcement of his Atletico Madrid departure with a goal after coming off the bench to score in a 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday. 

Six days after confirming he will be leaving his boyhood club at the end of the season, Torres rolled back the years with a volleyed finish the 34-year-old would have been proud of in his prime.

It was also his 100th goal in La Liga.

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“Fernando is an icon here,” Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. “Whether he is scoring goals or not, winning titles or not, he has a place in the club that has been earned by respect, hard work and having an identity with the club. That will not change because of one more goal.”

Torres’ grievance this term has been a lack of playing time and he was a substitute again at the Wanda Metropolitano, replacing Antoine Griezmann, who was also on target. Angel Correa opened the scoring in the first half.

A comfortable victory cuts the gap behind leaders Barcelona back to 11 points and restores some momentum for Atletico, with their Europa League semi-final against Arsenal less than a fortnight away.

The result also guarantees Atletico a place in the Champions League for a sixth consecutive season.

“Barcelona’s season is tremendous,” Simeone said. “We will try to get closer to them and if we can’t get closer, we will congratulate them.”

This was something of a free hit for Levante, who stay 17th, five points clear of the relegation zone.

Simeone’s side now face Real Sociedad on Thursday and Real Betis on Sunday before the first leg at Emirates Stadium but they arrived here with only two wins from their last five matches.

– Long farewell –

Torres enjoyed the biggest cheer of the afternoon and followed his brilliant finish by blowing the crowd a kiss and waving both hands. It promises to be a long farewell.

The Spaniard is unlikely to face Arsenal but Griezmann almost certainly will and his goal was his 19th in La Liga this season, coming without Diego Costa, who is still nursing a thigh strain.

Atletico shaded the first half without creating too many clear-cut chances. But the visitors’ resistance was broken in the 33rd minute when Vitolo weaved inside to the edge of the penalty area and slipped the ball left to Correa.

Correa surprised the cluster of shuffling defenders by cutting back onto his right foot before using the space to guide the ball into the corner.

Griezmann was convinced he should have had a penalty before half-time when he ended a one-on-one by toppling over the hand of goalkeeper Oier Olazabal. The touch, however, was not only faint, but engineered by Griezmann’s dragging right foot, and the Frenchman was booked for diving.

Complaints turned to celebrations after the interval, as Sime Vrsaljko volleyed in a cross first time from the right and Griezmann finished first time into the top corner.

That was his last significant contribution, before making way for Torres just before the hour, and Koke was also spared the last 30 minutes, replaced by Gabriel Fernandez.

Simeone’s confidence was clear but Torres had the final say, the veteran sweeping home an instinctive volley from Correa’s cross to wrap up a routine win.

AFP

Torres To Leave Atletico At End Of Season

FILE COPY Atletico Madrid’s Spanish forward Fernando Torres celebrates after scoring the team’s fourth goal during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16-second leg football match between FC Lokomotiv Moscow and Club Atletico de Madrid in Moscow.  Photo: Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Fernando Torres has confirmed this season will be his last playing for Atletico Madrid, the striker’s boyhood club. 

Torres enjoys hero status at Atletico, where he came through the ranks as a teenager and made his first-team debut, aged 17 in 2001.

But, after spells away at Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan, the 34-year-old’s second stint in the Spanish capital has largely been as a back-up.

Torres has started only three La Liga games this season under coach Diego Simeone.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to confirm that this is my last season at the club,” Torres said on Monday.

“I felt I should let the fans know, as they have given me so much love and affection.

“Both the club and I knew that this moment was going to come. I think it is the best moment, accepting the reality that I am in, you see the prominence that I have in the team and maybe it is time to make way for others.”

Torres scored 76 league goals during his first five seasons at Atletico and after making an emotional return, he had hoped to retire at the club.

In between, a superb four years at Liverpool had been followed by difficult periods at both Chelsea and Milan, where Torres never rediscovered his lethal touch.

“For me, it is very difficult to say goodbye to this club for the second time, because my head and my idea was to hang up my boots here,” Torres said.

“But things do not always work out the way you want. I feel very well and I want to continue playing. I do not know if in two, three or five years I’ll look for a different situation.

“I do not have any team or competition (decided) since we have made the decision not long ago. So now we listen to the proposals and among these proposals, we will have to decide.”

It has been suggested that Torres does not see eye-to-eye with Simeone, who is also something of an icon at Atleti, having played for five years there, before coaching the team to the La Liga title in 2014.

“My relationship with Simeone is normal, it’s professional,” Torres said.

“I’ve always said that I’m not going to participate in any division with Simeone. There is no problem with the coach, nor with anyone in the club, it’s a decision that is exclusively mine.”

Torres was struggling at Chelsea when Atleti won the league four years ago, meaning the only trophy he has lifted with the club is a Segunda Division title in 2002.

Atletico, however, are strong favourites in this season’s Europa League and the possibility remains that the forward will sign off after a victorious final in Lyon on May 16.

Torres has scored 113 goals in 330 appearances for Atletico. He also won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, as well as the European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

“This second stage (at Atletico) has been magnificent,” Torres said. “I have lived magical moments and I am sure that I have others to live.”

AFP 

Fernando Torres In Stable Condition, Discharged From Hospital

Fernando TorresAtletico Madrid Striker Fernando Torres has been discharged from hospital after having tests on the head injury he suffered in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Deportivo La Coruna.

The 32-year-old spent the night in the hospital after falling heavily in an aerial challenge with Alex Bergantinos.

Atletico confirmed scans showed he has “no traumatic alterations or injuries” and will need to rest for 48 hours.

The club finished the game with 10 men, having used all three substitutes.

Champions League: Atletico Madrid Knock Out Bayern Munich

Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid have knocked Bayern Munich out of the Champions League to deny Pep Guardiola a highly coveted UCL title as he leaves for Manchester City.

Griezmann’s second half breakaway goal made all the different in the hard-fought battle as the Spaniards qualified on away goal despite losing 2-1 on the night.

Xabi Alonso had put the Germans ahead to make it look like a perfect night before Thomas Muller then missed a penalty that could have made the game more difficult for the visitors.

They were left to rue the missed penalty when Atletico scored as the first half ended 1-1.

Atletico were happy to let Bayern have all the possession for most part of the game as they held on desperately.

Robert Lewandowski headed in from Arturo Vidal’s clever head back across the goal to turn the heat up with 74 minutes on the clock putting Bayern back in front on the night.

It was a dramatic climax to the game as Fernando Torres also missed a controversial penalty awarded for a Javi Martinez foul that was clearly outside the box.

Bayern pressed harder in the dying minutes but failed to get the third goal.

Atletico match on to another Champions League final awaiting the winner between city rival Real Madrid and Manchester City.

UCL Quarter-final: Barcelona Beat Atletico Madrid 2-1

Barcelona - Atletico MadridLa Liga Giants, Barcelona FC, on Tuesday thrashed rivals Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Fernando Torres initially set Atletico Madrid on the lead with an early goal following an assist from Koke in the 25th minute.

As the game got tougher, Madrid’s messiah (Torres) was sent out of the pitch after a second yellow card in the 35th minute.

Coach Diego Simeone’s boys subsequently maintained their lead against Barcelona till the end of the first half at the Camp Nou.

However, Barcelona took advantage of Atletico Madrid’s 10-men with an opener from Luis Suarez in the 63rd minute.

Suarez consequently made good use of an assist from Daniel Alves to secure dominance for the Spanish giants in the 74th minute, a goal that was enough to ensure they secured the three points.

Suarez, Torres To Return To Liverpool For Gerrard’s Charity Game

Gerrard-Suarez Former Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, will be returning to Anfield to play in a charity match, to be hosted by Liverpool on March 29.

The match, organised by the Liverpool FC Foundation, would feature sides led by club captain, Steven Gerrard and retired vice-captain, Jamie Carragher.

Suarez is among those who have agreed to play. The Uruguayan forward left the Reds to join Barcelona for £75m last year July.

Former Liverpool players like Fernando Torres, Pepe Reina, Dirk Kuyt and Xabi Alonso would also be involved in the match.

Chelsea captain, John Terry, his team-mate, Didier Drogba and former Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, have also expressed interests that they would be involved in the game.

The teams would be completed with Liverpool players not on international duty and academy prospects. The two managers are yet to be announced.

Suarez 28, won all three English domestic Player of the Year awards last season, scoring 31 Premier League goals as Liverpool finished second place to Manchester City.

He left shortly after being suspended for 4 months, for biting Italy defender, Giorgio Chiellini, while playing for Uruguay in a World Cup match in Brazil in 2014.

Money raised would go towards a number of foundations, including the club’s foundation, which funds community programmes across the city.

Incomes would also go towards Alder Hey’s new children’s hospital in the Park project, the Wirral-based Claire’s House Children’s Hospice, Youth Charities Positive Futures and Cash for Kids, and Centre 56, which supports women and children who have suffered or are at risk of domestic abuse.

Fernando Torres Tops UEFA’s Best January Signings Poll

Fernando TorresAtletico Madrid striker, Fernando Torres has been considered by fans as the best January transfer signing by clubs in a poll conducted by Europe’s football governing body UEFA on their website.

UEFA.com finished transfer deadline day by asking more than 50 million social media followers to name who they thought had been the best signings of the winter window.

Fans of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League on Facebook, as well as followers of @ChampionsLeague and @EuropaLeague, were invited to make their suggestions using #WinterTransferTop5.

UEFA said that 50 million fans voted before the results were released on Wednesday.

The former Chelsea target-man beat close competitions from Ivorian strikers Wilfried Bony and Seydou Doumbia, who placed 2nd and 3rd. They both joined Manchester City and AS Roma.

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland and Germany’s André Schurrle, made the last two of January’s top five signings according to the fans. They joined Inter Milan and VfL Wolfsburg respectively.

Torres, 30, left the boyhood club Atletico for English club Liverpool seven and a half years earlier and later joined Chelsea.

Torres has thus far scored three goals for Atletico since his return with two against cross-city rivals, Real Madrid and one against FC Barcelona.

Cristiano Ronaldo Celebrates Ballon d’Or with the Bernabéu Fans

RonaldoPortuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo, celebrated his third Ballon d’Or with the Santiago Bernabéu fans ahead of the Copa del Rey clash with Atlético on Thursday.

Joined by James, Kroos and Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s other award-winners at the FIFA Gala, Ronaldo offered the trophy, which confirms his status as the best player in the world to the fans who have supported the team to glory.

James paraded his Puskas Award for the best goal in 2014, while Toni Kroos and Sergio Ramos exhibited their accolades as members of the FIFA FIFPro World XI alongside Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed his third Ballon d’Or in Zurich on Monday beating the two other finalists Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to win the coveted prize.

Colombian, James Rodriguez, beat Robin van Persie and Ireland’s Stephanie Roche to win Goal of the Year.

The Copa del Rey clash, however, did not have a happy ending on the night.

Ramos and Ronaldo scored for the Whites, who tried everything they could to turn the knockout stage of the Copa del Rey around.

However, two early goals in either halves of the match from rejuvenated Fernando Torres condemned the Bernebeau stars to a 2-2 draw which ensured they bowed out on a 4-2 aggregate loss.

The defending champions had lost the first leg 2-0.

I Have Nothing To Prove To Chelsea – Drogba

Didier DrogbaDidier Drogba will have to fight hard to control his emotions when he returns to Stamford Bridge for Galatasaray’s Champions League last-16 second leg against Chelsea, the Ivorian said on the eve of Tuesday’s (March 18) match.

The 36-year-old striker ended a glittering eight-year career with the London club by scoring the winning penalty in the 2012 Champions League shootout victory over Bayern Munich in the final at the Allianz Arena.

After a hesitant start to Galatasaray’s pre-match news conference, Drogba had the reporters in stitches.

“I’ll ask myself the first question,” he said. ‘Didier, how do you feel about returning to Stamford Bridge?

“Well, I’m really happy to come back and to see some familiar faces for a big game in a big competition.

“It’s very difficult to play against Chelsea but it’s not going to be difficult for me to put myself in competition with them because now I belong to Galatasaray and I need to be professional,” said Drogba.

“Of course there will be emotion playing against my ex-team mates, like there was in the first leg,” he added in reference to the opening match in Istanbul that ended in a 1-1 draw.

The big, powerful centre forward was once voted the best player in Chelsea’s history and he said he did not know how he would react if he scored a goal on Tuesday.

Drogba said if he scores against the Blues he might not celebrate the goal, adding: “I have nothing to prove to this club everything I had to prove I proved it with Chelsea. Now I come here with another team and I just want to win the game, I just want to qualify, there is nothing personal against Chelsea, there will never be.”

Drogba also won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and two League Cups at Chelsea, scoring 157 goals in 341 appearances between 2004 and 2012.

Fernando Torres gave Chelsea an early lead in Istanbul but Galatasaray equalised through Aurelien Chedjou to leave the tie delicately balanced in Chelsea’s favour.

Galatasaray Coach, Roberto Mancini used to be in charge at Manchester City and said he had good memories of his time in the English Premier league.

However, turning to the task at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, the Italian said: “We know it is really difficult because Chelsea is one of the best teams in Europe, but in football, never say never, anything can happen if you believe in yourself and we want to do a good job tomorrow.”

Abramovich looking to cut losses on Torres

Signed from Liverpool to Chelsea for a whopping £50 million, Spaniard Fernando Torres has always been topical since his arrival at Stamford Bridge making as he has proved to be the player the Blues can rely on.

An arrow head in the Blues team,in terms of formation, Chelsea’s Russian owner is considering to cut his losses on the £50 million man, tagging  Torres with an ultimatum of one more month to prove pundits wrong and deliver like he used to while he was at Liverpool.

Meanwhile, Abramovich is not sleeping with his two eyes as Chelsea moved on another striker to likely replace Torres and  Brazilian striker, Taison was the choice of the Stamford Bridge club,  as reports indicate that he will sign a £10 million deal next week ahead of the opening of the January transfer window.

Taison was at Stamford Bridge to witness the 0-0 bore draw with Fulham.

The 24-year-old, a former Internacional team-mate of Chelsea’s big money summer signing Oscar, was tracked in the summer. His name has come to greater attention this season following his spectacular Marco Van Basten-esque volley for his club Metalist Kharkiv in the Europa League three weeks ago.

Benitez, on a short-term deal until the end of the season, still believes he can help Torres recapture the form he showed under him during his spell at Anfield.

When asked about Torres’ contribution in the back-to-back goalless draws over the past week, Benitez said: “We have had, maybe, five training sessions.

“It’s still too early. But for me we are watching things that are positive.”

Torres is currently on a run of 648 minutes without a Premier League goal, and has managed just one shot on target during Rafa’s first two games in charge.

Rooney warns teammates against complacency ahead of Chelsea clash

Manchester United striker and England International gave a stern warning  to teammates not to get complacent ahead of the English Premiership clash between the Red Devils and the Blues Chelsea later today.

He said Manchester United must not give lapses for an early goal against the European champions.

Chelsea,surprise winners of last season’s UEFA champions league competition sent out a note of warning to fellow clubs that the new season will be different following their victory in the champions league, as owner Abramovich went on extravagant shopping spree to get the signature of best of the best in the round-leather game and recruited Oscar and Eden Hazard in the off-season for a combined fee of almost 60 million pounds, joining Juan Mata in attack playing just behind Fernando Torres – and the combination has proved to be formidable so far.

Rooney has emphasized the need for United to prevent early goals from the blow of the whistle as they are being hosted in Stamford Bridge by an in-form Chelsea team.

Rooney said it would be better if United can prevent such early goals which will count against them because coming to get equalizers are sometimes very difficult against best teams like Chelsea and this happened against Braga in the Champions League during the week but United was lucky to get back into the game and win it.

Rooney continued that although last season United was able to pull it off against the Blues when they went 3-0 down before they drew, but he is not sure that United can pull it off again if that happens this time as United cannot afford to be going one or two goals down against Chelsea away as it has new crop of talented players now.

He said “Mata is a great player and Hazard has settled in really well in his first season so I think those two along with Torres are the three biggest threats.

“It’s a great start and it’s clear having won the Champions League last season it has given them a lot more confidence, they have brought a lot of new players in and added more speed to the team,” Rooney said.

Chelsea is undefeated in the League, winning seven of their eight games whilst drawing the other against QPR.

UCL: Shakhtar topples Chelsea in group E with 2-1 win

Ahead of the clash with another English club with Manchester United in the English Premier League, Chelsea got a wake-up call last night in the UEFA champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk as the European champion suffered their first defeat of the season.

With the return of John Terry to the squad, the ought was that it would be a win-win situation for Chelsea in the away game but reverse was the case as the London club fell 2-1 as the player got off to the worst possible start as he unwittingly set up Shakhtar’s opener inside three minutes. this is Terry’s first appearance since accepting his racism ban.

But he was arguably the least culpable Chelsea player on a night which cost the Barclays Premier League leaders dearly and a risible performance from Fernando Torres scuppered their hopes of a comeback.

Shakhtar Donetsk will be grateful to the duo of Alex texeira and Fernandinho as their goals ensured victory for Shakhtar last night but Chelsea responded late as they couldn’t wake-up from their slumber in good time and were only able to secure a consolation goal thanks to Oscar.

Now on the Group E table, Shakhtar are leaders in the first of what could be a crucial double-header.

Chelsea were spared dropping out of the qualification places by Juventus’ shock draw at Nordsjaelland, but they will need to do much better at Stamford Bridge in two weeks to avoid doing so.

The defeat was their first since their UEFA Super Cup thrashing by Atletico Madrid and the performance was almost as alarming at times as they were carved open by an outstanding Shakhtar side.

The build-up to the game was predictably dominated by Terry’s return, the timing of which was quite extraordinary.

In what was a fiercely-contested game in a fizzing atmosphere, Oscar tried to respond with a tame low drive before Willian almost lived up to his manager’s promise to make Chelsea pay for not signing him by drilling wide.

That was in the 15th minute and it got worse for the visitors when Frank Lampard went down injured, forcing an early end to his record 100th Euro appearance for the club and the introduction of Eden Hazard.

John Terry could not stop Willian brilliantly setting up Henrik Mkhitaryan, Cole doing enough to force Shakhtar’s goal machine to shoot too close to Cech.

That sparked a flurry of chaotic corners, which Chelsea defended frantically and saw Cech produce a wonder-save to deny Tomas Hubschman from point-blank range after Oscar set up the midfielder.

Torres’ weak hooked volley from Branislav Ivanovic’s cross summed up a half in which he proved a real liability, a theme that continued after the restart.

Hazard produced a horrendous gaffe to gift Shakhtar their second goal in the 52nd minute.

He was pickpocketed in the centre-circle by Fernandinho, who fed Adriano and both raced goal wards for the former to slot past Cech.