LONDON, Feb 6 (AFP) – Fernando Torres insists he is not a traitor after Chelsea's £50 million striker was accused of betraying Liverpool.
Torres is set to make an emotionally-charged Chelsea debut against his former club on Sunday just a week after completing his controversial British record transfer from Liverpool.
Reds boss Kenny Dalglish admitted he was disappointed by the timing of Torres's move, which was finalised just hours before the close of the transfer window.
Torres was well below his best for much of this season and handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through the move once he became aware of Chelsea's interest, prompting some fans and former players to claim the Spain forward had been sulking for months.
|Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti (left) and new signing, Fernando Torres, are seen during a press conference at Chelsea's training grounds in Cobham, Surrey, on February 4. AFP|
But Torres is adamant he was always completely dedicated to the Liverpool cause and he slammed those who criticised the way he left Anfield.
"I think it is not fair. It makes no sense. I played three very good seasons there and scored lots of goals," Torres said.
"I understand it was a difficult situation, especially in the transfer window, but I have to think about my career.
"Everyone will see it is a step forward. I know the plans Chelsea have for the future, the ambition they have and what they want to achieve.
"They want to build a great team and keep competing with Man Utd and Man City to be the best club in England and to fight for the Champions League.
"When I will be 45 I would like to look back and say I am really lucky to have this picture of me as a champion.
"I explained my feelings and was honest with everyone. Everything was straight, the main thing was to be honest and fair.
"Obviously they didn't want me to leave, they tried to persuade me to stay but I told them I had made my decision.
"I don't know how the fans will be but it would a surprise for me if I get a really bad reception."
During his three-and-a-half years at Liverpool, Torres had appeared totally devoted to the Reds and he even claimed he would never play for another English club.
That pledge was swiftly consigned to history once Liverpool began to struggle and Chelsea came calling, but Torres insists he has never been the badge-kissing type who takes the plaudits then walks out when the going gets tough.
However, he felt Liverpool's decline had been too steep over the last 18 months, with the departures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano convincing Torres the club lacked ambition.
"I never kissed the Liverpool badge," Torres said. "When I was born in Madrid I wasn't a Liverpool or Chelsea fan. I'm an Atletico fan, maybe that is the only badge I would kiss.
"People were talking about Liverpool winning the title or getting back in the top four but I could see from the beginning of the season that we would struggle.
"When you have a chance to play for a team who can win the Champions League and Premier League and compete with the best then you have to take the chance."
Whether Torres starts against Liverpool on Sunday after just three days training remains to be seen, but in the long run he should breathe new life in a team that has lost its way in recent months and spark a sustained challenge for the Champions League.
The post-Torres era shouldn't hold too many fears for Liverpool if Uruguay striker Luis Suarez continues to display the kind of predatory instincts that bagged him a debut goal in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Stoke.
Suarez will shoulder the burden of replacing Torres for several weeks until Andy Carroll, the £35 million signing from Newcastle, returns to fitness and the former Ajax star said "It is a weight off your shoulders scoring your first goal.
"You know everyone is keeping an eye on what you do so it does relax you and helps from the word go."