Having completed his club season in New York on Saturday night, Fernando Torres is already looking ahead to the next one.
Torres captained the side at Yankee Stadium as we fell to a 5-3 defeat against Manchester City in the second game of a double-header that yielded 15 goals for American supporters, and now waits to see if he will be included in Spain’s squad for the Confederations Cup in Brazil before enjoying a summer break.
‘It’s been a great experience to come to the US and play here,’ the 29-year-old said. ‘We came in the summer to America and you can see that football is growing. People have more interest so it’s nice to see football becoming a real sport in the US.’
It was announced on Saturday that we will be returning stateside in August following on from our summer tour in Asia as we prepare for the 2013/14 season. Bayern Munich’s victory in the Champions League final last night confirmed our opponents for the European Super Cup in Prague.
‘Everyone is looking forward for next season. We’re sure it will be a great season,’ Torres said. ‘It’s another European trophy to play for. Obviously as Europa League winners you expect to play against the best team in Europe.
‘The Champions League winners are often the favourites but it’s not very often they win. Hopefully we learn from the game we played against Atletico, which was not good enough, and we can win the first trophy of the season in August.’
It is time now however to reflect on a season that began and ended in America. Torres believes it should be remembered well.
‘It’s been a good season,’ he said. ‘It’s a new squad with new players, many different players and a different style from last season.
‘Expectations were high because we won the Champions League and we were fighting for many trophies. Everything was difficult around Christmas time; we changed the manager and lost the chance to win a couple of trophies.
‘It wasn’t easy but we showed character and the level we should have. Winning the Europa League and finishing in the top three, you can’t say it’s a bad season. The future can only be better.’
Torres’s compatriot Rafael Benitez managed the side for the final time in New York, and the player had kind words for the coach.
‘Rafa Benitez helped the team. He came in a very difficult situation for him, because the team was not doing well and it took time to improve but the team has been much better than in the beginning,’ he said.
‘He came to do the job, he did it and he must be happy because he won a trophy. I wish him all the best in the future. We will be here fighting for more trophies , I am sure he will be in a top club, and we’ll play against him.’