Fernando Torres has reiterated his admiration for Diego Simeone despite hinting he will not be offered a new contract by Atletico Madrid.
Torres’ 18-month loan deal from AC Milan expires at the end of the season – at which point he will become a free agent – and there has been little suggestion Atletico will offer him fresh terms to remain at the Vicente Calderon.
Torres’ return to Atletico has been a huge disappointment with the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker managing just eight goals in 50 appearances in all competitions.
On the lack of a new deal, the Spain striker a sponsorship event in Madrid: “There are no hard feelings. I’m 31-years-old, I’m not a child anymore. I don’t take these decisions personally.
“This is the time for unity, there’s no need to focus on anything else. Things go better when the fans, the technical staff and the team are united. No-one comes before Atletico Madrid, that is what matters most.”
Torres joined Atletico as an 11-year-old and captained the club at 19, before leaving for Liverpool in 2007. He insists Simeone’s decision does not alter his affection for the club.
“It doesn’t change a thing. Since returning my goal has always been to win with Atleti and that’s still the case regardless of the situation. I’m taking it one game at a time to accomplish what I set out to do,” he added.
“I’m taking things one day at a time and am delighted to be playing for the team I love. I’m sad not to be on the pitch with my team-mates obviously, but I’m taking things as they are. My only wish is to get back into the starting line-up, play and savour every game I have in this jersey.”
As for Simeone, he added: “What we talked about was personal and that’s the way I’d like to keep it. The transfer window closes tonight and there’s no offer on the table. But there’s always the summer. I’ve never hidden my desires but it’s not up to me. I know my job is to score goals and that’s what all us forwards have to do.
“We [Torres and Simeone] have a professional relationship and have admiration for each other. I’m eternally grateful to him for giving me the opportunity to come back to Atletico. He knows that I give it my all to play every match, that’s what I train for. Simeone is extremely important to this club and my admiration for him will continue to be the same.”