Torres ready to step up

Drogba left Stamford Bridge for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua last month after an eight-year stint in West London during which he scored 157 goals.

The Ivory Coast striker marked his exit in style by netting a late equaliser and the winning penalty in a shootout against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final as Chelsea lifted the trophy in May.

Responsibility

Torres has struggled for consistency since joining the Blues from Liverpool for a British record transfer fee of £50million in January 2011.

But the 28-year-old striker, who helped Spain to success at Euro 2012 this summer, is certain he can fill Drogba’s shoes.

“I am looking forward to it. I like the responsibility and it’s a thing I’ve been doing all my life,” Torres told Chelsea’s official website.

“I think Didier did everything for this club, scoring the winning goal in the Champions League was an inspiration for us.

“Our relationship was great and I was talking to him when he decided to leave he wished me all the best and hopefully one day Chelsea fans will remember me as they are going to remember him.”

Torres is aware of the expectation on Chelsea this season after they ended their much-publicised hunt for European glory and insists he and his team-mates are raring to go.

“It was an amazing summer for us, especially for Juan Mata and me who won the Champions League with the team and then were with the Spanish team and won in Europe, which means everything,” he said.

“We know we have big expectations this season, there are a lot of trophies to win and we are ready for the challenge. I am sure it is going to be a good season.”

Exciting

Torres is looking forward to linking up with Chelsea’s new signings, with the club having made three captures so far in Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar.

“We are really happy and looking forward to the season,” he said.

“In pre-season we need to show we want to be part of the team, there are lots of new players coming in and we hope after the Olympics we will start working together fully. Different players have come, so it’s exciting for us.”

Shevchenko calls it a day

The 35-year-old frontman, who played for Ukraine at Euro 2012, revealed the news late on Friday night in a statement released by his club, Dynamo Kiev.

“This will probably shock everyone,” Shevchenko told the club’s official website.

“My future will no longer be in football. I will give more information tomorrow (today) but I will be going into politics.

“I hope for your support.”

Reputation

Shevchenko earned his reputation as one of Europe’s most prolific strikers in two successful spells with AC Milan.

During his combined time with the Rossoneri, he scored 175 goals in 322 appearances and helped them lift the UEFA Champions League in 2002-03 and the Serie A title the following season.

His two stints with Milan sandwiched a three-year spell at Chelsea, although he struggled to make his mark at Stamford Bridge.

Shevchenko also won five league trophies with Dynamo having started – and now ended – his career there and is the all-time leading goalscorer with Ukraine’s national team, netting 48 goals in 111 matches.

Oscar ready to play anywhere

The 20-year-old’s long-awaited move from Internacional to the Blues, for a reported fee of around £25million, was completed earlier this week.

The capture of the Brazilian, currently in the UK with Mano Menezes’ Olympic squad, adds to a glittering array of midfield talent following the acquisitions of Eden Hazard and Marko Marin.

Competition

Competition for places looks set to be fierce among the squad of the UEFA Champions League winners, with Oscar laying down a marker of his talent by creating two goals in Brazil’s 3-2 victory over Egypt in Cardiff on Thursday night.

But the former Sao Paulo playmaker says he will not insist on playing in his preferred attacking midfield role, and is sure he can make an impact regardless of where he is asked to play.

He said: “The offer was very good for me and I didn’t have to think twice about signing.

“After the Olympics I am going to talk to the manager and I am ready to do whatever the manager wants me to do.

“For Internacional I played in several different positions, so I have no problem adapting.”

The move represents a huge personal shift for Oscar, who has played all his club football to date in Brazil.

But he is confident that the friendships he already has with some of the Portuguese-speaking members of the Blues’ squad will help him to settle in London.

“I am good friends with David Luiz,” he said. “There are also Ramires and Lucas Piazon playing for Chelsea, so they will help me adapt.”

Focus

While Oscar has insisted that for now his only focus is on ensuring Brazil secure their first Olympic gold medal in the men’s football tournament, he admits he has been keeping an eye on some of the other newcomers that will join him at Stamford Bridge next term.

And he has set his sights on helping the club add to their collection of silverware.

“This is a dream for me,” he said. “I’m joining Chelsea hopefully to win more titles.

“The project is very exciting, especially with the young players that they are signing.”

STURRIDGE PLAYING CATCH-UP

With Team GB needing only a point from their final group game against Uruguay to ensure qualification for the quarter-finals of the men’s football competition, Daniel Sturridge has confirmed that he is still not fully recovered from the viral meningitis scare which almost prevented him from competing at the Olympics.

The 23-year-old, who only played 45 minutes in the build-up to the tournament, looked out of sorts in the opening game against Senegal, but having been dropped to the bench by manager Stuart Pearce for Sunday’s game against UAE, he came on at the break and scored a stunning chip to put the seal on a 3-1 win.

‘I am getting there but I am still not 100 per cent,’ said the Blues attacker.

‘Basically, I am a week behind the rest of the lads in terms of fitness because they had a week of pre-season when I was at my club. Also I have lost a bit of weight but I am getting fitter.

‘I pretty much knew what I was going to do after the first touch. I looked up to see if the keeper was off his line and went for it straight away.

‘When you try something like that there is always a little doubt isn’t there? You just hope it comes off.’

Sturridge admitted that after contracting the illness at the beginning of the month, his Olympic dream appeared to be in tatters.

However, after missing out on Euro 2012 having been placed on standby by Roy Hodgson, he was determined to be a part of such a momentous event.

‘This was the centre-piece of my summer, he said. ‘It was the right stage to show what I am capable of, but I was more than a bit concerned about missing it.

‘A week after contracting meningitis, I was unsure whether I would be coming or not. At that stage I certainly felt worse than I thought I would.

‘Thankfully, as time went on I improved, although there were only a couple of days to go before we made the decision to go for it.’

The fact Team GB were only put together a couple of weeks before the start of the competition undoubtedly puts them at a slight disadvantage, particularly compared to those teams such as Brazil who play together on a regular basis.

With each game, however, relationships are evolving and performances improving, and while the group are desperate to give the nation something to cheer, Sturridge is simply delighted to be involved.

‘It is completely different,’ said Sturridge. ‘Everyone is mingling. It is not about football. It is about Team GB and being part of something special. It is about a huge team that is trying to contribute medals.

‘Going to the opening ceremony was amazing. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all the players to be involved in something like that.

‘You normally watch it on TV but to be able to go round the stadium, with all the fireworks and see Paul McCartney, it was just a phenomenal experience.’

RAMIRES RETURNS TO INTERNATIONAL FOLD

Ramires has been recalled to the Brazil squad by national team coach Mano Menezes.

The 25-year-old midfielder joins new signing Oscar and David Luiz in the squad that faces Sweden on August 15.

Ramires enjoyed a fine end to last season, scoring the opening goal in the FA Cup Final just weeks after his incredible chip had kick-started our comeback against Barcelona in the Champions Leage semi-final.

The former Benfica and Cruzeiro man has not played for Brazil since the 2011 Copa America a year ago.