Fernando Torres tells the official Chelsea website how much he values the chance to play in the Club World Cup, and why Japan is the reason he took up football…
Already a world and European champion at international level, Fernando Torres could replicate the double with his club while in Japan, and insists he is hungry for success.
Having seen how other teams are treating the tournament, the striker believes Chelsea will be equally determined to lift the trophy in Yokohama.
‘How many people don’t take this tournament seriously, or don’t think it is like the real World Cup?,’ said the 28-year-old. ‘It is for the clubs. You ask the South American people. David Luiz showed me a video of Corinthians fans at the airport, it was full of fans cheering the team and travelling to Japan to support, so it is important.
‘In Europe maybe we don’t give it as much attention, and to some people it might not mean much, but to me it does, so this is not a holiday or a break, this is a World Cup. It’s nice to be involved, and maybe to be able to say you are a world champion. The European Super Cup was just as important to us and we lost, so we don’t want that disappointment.’
Torres believes, however, that victory in Japan would not make up for our disappointment in not reaching this season’s Champions League knockout stages.
‘It wouldn’t make up for the Champions League, they are different things,’ he said. ‘It was a dream to win it last season and we wanted to do it again this time to be the first team to do two in a row, and it’s a big disappointment to go out in the group stage. Nothing can make up for it but we must look forward, we are in a different competition now, the Europa League, and we want to win that too to play in and win another Super Cup.
‘But now we must forget the Champions League, because we are out, and focus on this instead. There are not many chances to play in this competition, so we have to take it. Who knows if we will play in another one?’
Torres has another reason to want to win. Japan was where the seeds of his football career were sewn, though little did he know at the time.
‘I remember when I was a kid, we couldn’t find the signal really well on TV, but everyone in school was talking about this cartoon about football, from Japan,’ he explained.
‘It was a series called Oliver y Benji in Spain, and in Japan it was Captain Tsubasa, and these two young players started as youth team players, got into the national team, won the World Cup, and moved to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, then moved to Europe, so it was like a dream.
‘I started playing football because of this, and because my brother forced me, and I loved the cartoon. I wanted to be Oliver, because he played out on the field and Benji was the goalkeeper. That was the first contact I had with Japan.’