Fernando Torres on Saturday said that Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez was the inspiration behind his goal-scoring exploits which helped Spain to Euro 2008 glory.
Torres netted 33 times in a blistering first season for Liverpool – breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's record for goals scored by a foreigner in a debut Premier League campaign.
The 24-year-old said that Benitez's relentless quest for improvement since he joined from Atletico Madrid has been a catalyst for his career.
“There are days when you think: 'My God, this guy (Benitez) doesn't let you breathe',” Torres told the club's website.
“At a club like Liverpool, you can't sit back after scoring 20-odd goals and say: 'Well, that's it.' After you score 20, Benitez is at you during the next training session and stays on top of you all day, all week.”
Torres was instrumental in helping Spain win their first major honour in 44 years, scoring the winning goal in last weekend's Euro 2008 final against Germany.
He added: “He (Benitez) tells you to go off on your own and do new exercises. I want to progress in life, not relax, not be complacent, and you need someone close to you telling you to keep at it.
“It is impossible to do it otherwise. We don't always fancy someone that close but, in the long term, I am sure that everybody will thank him for it.”
Torres also spoke of his admiration for the leadership qualities of club captain and England star Steven Gerrard.
“He's a great example, and those of us who have been in a similar situation know how difficult it is to handle.
“It's incredible the way he (Gerrard) carries himself regardless of what is going on around him. I'd love to be captain of another team one day and Steve has shown me how to be a great leader.”
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