/ 18 March 2011

Liverpool was chaotic, says Torres

Fernando Torres has revealed that he resolved to leave Liverpool long before his January transfer to Chelsea because the club was in “chaos”. In a damning assessment the striker said he could not reject a move to Stamford Bridge because the remaining six months of this season would have felt like three years at Anfield.

Torres hit out at the direction Liverpool have taken, describing them as a club no longer living up to their history and unable to compete with England’s biggest teams. He said he had found greater togetherness in the Chelsea dressing room than at Anfield.

“[Leaving Liverpool] was a decision I had mulled over for a long time, even though it appeared to be taken very hastily,” Torres said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca. “I had made up my mind a long time before. In the summer in which Xabi Alonso left [2009] I started to wonder.

“I had the best three years of my career at Liverpool. I thought I was at the best club around, one that would win things with time. But when Xabi and [Javier] Mascherano left, and before them [Peter] Crouch and [Alvaro] Arbeloa, when reinforcements didn’t arrive, I started to wonder if Liverpool was the club its history suggests or if it was in fact a selling club.

“I knew I was an idol at the club but it was no longer the same. There was also the departure of [the manager Rafael] Benitez and the club was in chaos with the sale. There was so much said, so much talk about projects, but then nothing. It reminded me of Atletico Madrid: great history, lots of ideas but without money you need time. And I didn’t have much of that.”

Torres said that he had first tried to move in the summer but was told that he could not depart with Liverpool in the middle of a battle over ownership.

‘You don’t have to prove you are a professional’
“They told me they would not sell anyone and I turned down an offer from Chelsea in the summer,” he said. “I understood Liverpool’s reasons for not wanting to sell me, even though I knew I was letting an opportunity go by — one that might not come back again. [But] the club was not the same, it wasn’t heading in the direction I thought it should head in and I could see that a change was needed.

“What other teams could I have gone to? I couldn’t go to [Manchester] United out of respect for Liverpool. Or [Real] Madrid, because of my past. I don’t think Barcelona needed anyone. I didn’t like the idea of Italy. Chelsea was the only club left. There was only one option. In fact, I thought there were no options at all until Chelsea appeared out of nowhere [in January]. The idea was in my head before but it was a long way from being a reality.

“And then suddenly one day, 20 days before [the end of the transfer window], the opportunity appeared. I didn’t expect it; it was like a light bulb coming on in a long, dark passageway.

“I thought that the six months left at Liverpool this season would feel like three years.”
In a veiled criticism of Liverpool’s handling of his move, he said: “I wanted to be honest. If others haven’t been honest, that’s not my problem.

“Football is not a sport populated by honest people. You can’t tell the truth or be up front with people. It’s a business and no one is friends. I was honest. I know [the transfer] wasn’t [handled in] the best way but I was honest. If anyone used the press, it wasn’t me. I was straight and I have a clear conscience.”

He said he had no regrets about joining Chelsea. “We have an owner who will invest when it is necessary and I have been surprised by the atmosphere in the dressing room, considering there are so many stars. There is more of a personal relationship and jokes between players than there was at Liverpool. There, it was much more serious. Here, you don’t have to prove you are a professional. That’s just taken as read.” —