Stamford Bridge striker wants to make up for UEFA Champions League elimination with FIFA Club World Cup win.
Spanish striker Fernando Torres says winning the Club World Cup would not make up for the disappointment of Chelsea’s embarrassingly early exit from the Champions League.
The English giants, preparing for Thursday’s semi-final in Japan, last week became the first defending champions in Champions League history to crash out at the group stage the following season.
It capped a miserable spell for Chelsea during which they slipped off the pace in the Premier League and popular manager Roberto Di Matteo was sacked.
“It wouldn’t make up for the Champions League, they are different things,” said Torres in comments published on the Chelsea website, referring to the Club World Cup.
“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.
“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?”
And Torres, who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010, insisted the showpiece tournament offered the 2012 Champions League winners the chance to call themselves world champions despite the mixed bag of quality of show.
“How many people don’t take this tournament seriously, or don’t think it is like the real World Cup?” the 28-year-old said.
“It is for the clubs. You ask the South American people. (Defender) 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,” Torres said.
The much-maligned Torres has struggled for goals since his big-money move from Liverpool two years ago but has netted four times in two games, including a brace in Chelsea’s morale-boosting weekend victory over Sunderland.
Upon his return to form, he revealed the inspiration behind his medal-laden career – not Pele, Diego Maradona or Johan Cruyff – but a Japanese cartoon called Captain Tsubasa.
The Spanish striker, who has a World Cup, two European Championships and a Champions League title to his name, said his love for the game owes its origins to a popular manga animation he watched as a boy.
“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 said.
“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,” he added in comments published on the Chelsea website.
“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.”
Torres’s Chelsea, taking part in their first Club World Cup, take on Mexican side Monterrey in Yokohama in their last-four clash on Thursday.
Victory would likely set up a mouthwatering tie with Brazilian giants Corinthians, who face Egypt’s Al Ahly on Wednesday in the other semi-final in the tournament, which has also featured part-timers Auckland City and J-League winners Sanfrecce Hiroshima.
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