In the first part of our exclusive interview with Fernando Torres ahead of the World Cup, he recalled the tournament in South Africa four years ago when Spain lifted the trophy. Today, he assesses his nations’ chances this time around in Brazil, and praises the impact one of his Chelsea team-mates has had for club and country recently…
Spanish success at the last World Cup was sandwiched between continental glory at the European Championships in 2008 and 2012. This summer’s showpiece in Brazil affords Vicente del Bosque’s men, including Fernando Torres, the opportunity to create further history by winning an unparalleled four major international tournaments in a row.
This may be Torres’s last shot at winning the World Cup again, and the same could well be said of some of his long-time international colleagues including Iker Casillas, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta and David Villa.
‘You can see two different points of view,’ muses Torres when it is put to him this is the end of a quite exceptional era.
‘You can see it like it’s the last big tournament this generation is going to play, and after that maybe there will be new players and some of the senior players won’t go any more, and it will be more difficult and more pressurised because we won the previous one.
‘Or you can see it from the point of view where we have already done what nobody has ever done in the history of internationals, win three in a row, and now we have the chance to make the history even more difficult for the teams that come after.
‘We can do something that nobody has done and if they want to do it in the future they will have to wait a minimum of eight years. This is the way we think and the way we want to think. We have to chance the be even better for the history and for our country.
‘We are not worried about not going again or if there are new players coming through because we have great young players in Spain. The next generation can be even better than the generation we had in the past.’
This is quite a frightening thought for the non-Spanish supporter, but at Chelsea we have been fortunate enough to witness the rapid emergence of one of Spain’s ‘next generation’.
Cesar Azpilicueta is in Del Bosque’s squad after an outstanding second season at Stamford Bridge in which the defender made the left-back slot his own. According to a man who now has the pleasure of playing alongside him for both club and country, personal success is just reward for the 24-year-old Azpilicueta.
‘It’s really nice to see players like him – the perfect professional – having the chance to play and playing the way he is doing and improving as a player,’ says Torres.
‘Sometimes you are happier for the player because you can see this player is going to be a great player and they deserve everything they get. When he is the professional he is, it’s even nicer for the people around.
‘He deserves everything he has done this season and hopefully will prove to the whole world at this World Cup he can be one of the main players for the Spanish national team in the future. I hope so.’
By Rupert Cane