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Fernando's autobiography


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The Daily Mirror

14 September 2009


My secrets, by Fernando Torres

By James Fletcher


Penny Lane must have seemed a million miles away from Madrid to the young Spanish schoolboy.


So too, the ‘Yellow Submarine’ that Fernando Torres sang about with his brother as they recited Beatles hits passed down from their father Jose.


Indeed, ‘El Nino’, would not even have known who the Fab Four were given his tender years or what it was they were singing about. But he loved their tunes all the same. And that was all that mattered.


Had anyone told him just how intricately linked he would ultimately become with Liverpool’s most famous sons and he would have laughed it off as madness. Liverpool? He’d never even heard of it. Yet the city was to become his second home. His future. The platform for his footballing dreams and the Beatles back catalogue was to become his Bible.


He said: “One of the biggest problems I faced when I first moved to Liverpool was the language barrier. My English was limited to the classes I had taken at school in Fuenlabrada. You think you know a bit of English and that you can get by but when you actually arrive in England you soon realise that you haven’t really got a clue.


“I was told to be honest and say; ‘I didn’t catch that, could you say it again?’ but the truth is I didn’t always take that advice. I nearly always just mumbled a ‘no’. That’s what I did whenever I was in the supermarket and was asked if I wanted ‘cash back’. It’s not something we have in Spain and I had no idea what it was. It was three months before I knew what they were talking about.


“One afternoon, the way back from having lunch we decided to go shopping. I’d been told about Costco and so we decided to go in and have a look. As we were going through the door, the security guard stopped. We assumed he was asking for a member’s card that we didn’t have and so, not be able to explain in English, we just turned and left without a word. The next day I was told if you’re not a member you can’t shop there.




“Two people were vital during my first few days in the city: Rob and Alan, the English teachers Liverpool laid on for me. One of the things they used to make me do was ring people in response to adverts in the paper. You’d get on the phone and ask about a puppy for sale, or that kitten being advertised, or the price of a second hand car.


“The idea was to get me used to speaking in English on the phone but at first the idea terrified me. So much so that I would panic when I didn’t understand something and find myself having to ring Pepe Reina.


“The car radio became my constant travelling companion. Every morning on my way to training at Melwood, I would listen and try to concentrate on what was being said. At first I only understood a few words but bit by bit I could feel myself improving. As I went past billboards I would try to translate them, too, and with every passing day I was getting better and better.


“Some nights, I even dared to pick up the phone and order food. When it turned up, it was nearly always what I wanted. When we were in hotels preparing for games I watched films in English with the subtitles on. The other thing I always carried with me was ‘English Training’ on my Nintendo DS - language games and exercises that helped me develop my English.


“I was terrified at the prospect of having to have a conversation on the phone. Imagine how much worse it is when that conversation is with the fire service! My smoke alarm kept going off in the house I was renting and one afternoon I got a call. I just about worked out that the man on the other end was from the local fire station but I didn’t understand anything else. A few minutes later a fire engine turned up at the house, packed with fireman thinking they were being called into action.


“They came three times in three days before they worked out that the smoke from cooking was causing the alarm to go off prematurely. The next time the alarm went off, they called me first to check whether they really did have to set off again.”


“I like the Beatles a lot. Before I ever imagined that I would end up in Liverpool, I listened to their songs. Now I’ve rediscovered them because listening to them has helped me to pick up the language more quickly. My favourite songs are ‘Penny Lane’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’.”


A giant 51-foot long, 15-foot high, 18 tons steel Yellow Submarine, replica built to commemorate the famous song, greeted Torres upon arrival at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport.


Torres found himself immersed in Liverpool’s history, it’s culture, walking the famous streets, from Princess Dock to Victoria Street, taking time to enjoy Matthew Street and the Beatles tour, though he is still to visit the Cavern Club.


“What can I say about the legendary band, a symbol of the city? There’s not much I can add, although it did strike me that – despite what you might imagine – people in Liverpool aren’t constantly talking about the Beatles and their success,” he added.


“People have an enormous amount of respect and admiration for them, because everyone in London is conscious of the fact that the Beatles and Liverpool FC have taken the name of the city round the world.”




Torres is not your average footballer. There will be no tabloid tales of bad boy behaviour, no sordid nightclub tales or weekly pictures of his latest supercar. Nights in playing cards, watching television with his stunning wife Olalla Dominguez Liste, or even a bit of DIY? Now you’re talking.


He explained: “I’m very much a homely person. I am at my most comfortable and relaxed there. One of my favourite moments each day, matches permitting, is the evening stroll with Olalla (my wife) and our two dogs. They’re English bulldogs, a male called Pomo and a female called Llanta. We have found a couple of parks near where we live that are relaxed and peaceful, offering a real escape.


“At home, we spend time playing board games with friends and family. When it comes to Monopoly, Scatergory, or Hotel, there are real battles. For a change, we sometimes play cards, even though I’m not one for the typical footballer’s game like poker or the games played with a 40-card Spanish deck, like mus or pocha. But I do enjoy playing brisca and tute, Spanish games similar to trumps.


“Television is an alternative and I like to be up to date with what’s going on in the world, and not just the sports news. My favourite programmes are ‘The Dog Whisperer’ and ‘Super Nanny’.




“I love Stanley Park, the one that divides Anfield and Goodison and which I got to know when I went to film the Spanish number 9 advert for Nike there. I’ve also been to Chester, and to Formby on the coast where, weather permitting, I like to devour a Flake 99, with raspberry sauce.


“We have adapted perfectly to Liverpool but when it comes to eating we still follow a Spanish timetable. Eating at English times still feels too early so we started arranging barbeques. A few of us got together along with Mikel Arteta from Everton. One Sunday we started eating in the garden, it was a sunny day with the odd cloud and we didn’t think anything of it....until the heavens opened and it started snowing. Yes, snowing! Since then, the slightest sign of bad weather and we set up in the garage instead.


“During my first few months in Liverpool I seemed to be permanently surrounded by hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and spanners as I discovered a new hubby: putting together furniture. There were tools everywhere.


“In Spain I hadn’t put together a single wardrobe but here in England I found myself in the position where I either had to get on and do it or the box would just gather dust. Sometimes, I would end up getting so irritated I would end up crawling to bed shattered – but with the world done.


“My determination to finish the job off meant that one night in 2007 I didn’t finish until the small hours. I had come home in a bad mood after we had lost 1-0 at home to Olympic Marseilles in the Champions League. I decided the best way to work the frustration out of my system was to put together two pieces of furniture for the living room. By the time I had finished it was 4am.


“I haven’t experienced Liverpool’s nightlife. I have been out a couple of times to eat after Champions League matches and you can see there’s a lot going on. One thing that does surprise me is that no one seems to wear a coat. Everyone is done up and dressed to impress but few of them wrap up warm, even though the temperature can’t be much above freezing. One thing that I would like to do is watch a game in the pub. Everyone tells me about the passion with which fans follow matches between pints.”



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“During my first few months in Liverpool I seemed to be permanently surrounded by hammers, screwdrivers, pliers and spanners as I discovered a new hubby: putting together furniture. There were tools everywhere.



lucky fecker.....who got that gig then??

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'Hi! My name is Fernando Torres, I'm just calling to ask how much the Ford Fiesta is you are selling in the paper!'





I bet there were some lads who got something like that and said 'yeah f*** off ya cheeky b*****d'


I wonder is that how he learnt and talks to refs that way. It would explain why he gets no free kicks.

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Part 2


"You can only ever be a legend in someone’s mind. So long as you never become a legend in your own, there’s no problem. People want to pigeon-hole you, Fernando: they want to label you, rank you, judge you and compare you to others. But all that really matters is that you are yourself."


Those were the words uttered to Fernando Torres just a few days after he had become Liverpool’s record signing. His new mentor? The King of the Kop; Kenny Dalglish.


The very fact that Torres, a new arrival from Spain was privileged to spend time with arguably the club’s greatest player of all time was not lost on the youngster.


And the advice, the inspiration, the invaluable experience gained from those moments with Dalglish will never be forgotten by the striker bidding to carve his place in British footballing history.


He said: “Dalglish told me that we’re the ones who make people’s dreams come true. The fans can’t play, so they live their dreams through us.


“There’s nothing better than listening to the man who fans consider to be the greatest Liverpool player of all time: Kenny Dalglish. Kenny and I are not the same: he is the greatest player of all, I was just a new arrival but he immediately put me at ease."


Dalglish has taken a special interest in Torres. The symmetry between the two is there for all to see and while Torres is right, after two seasons it is ridiculous to mention him in the same breath as King Kenny, the start he has made at Anfield suggests it will only be a matter of time.


There is more to Torres than his performances on the pitch. Dalglish has been impressed with the way he has immersed himself in the history and tradition, the values that are so important to Liverpool Football Club and its fans.


Dalglish and Torres met privately and spent time together inside a deserted Anfield. Their attention turned towards the Kop and, one of Dalglish biggest regrets.


Torres added: “Kenny revealed something that surprises me: ‘I always wanted to go on the Kop, but I never could,’ he said. ‘The only time I have ever been on the Kop is when the stadium has been empty. It’s funny, my son has been there but I haven’t. A friend of mine took him and looked after him, he spent the game with him on the Kop. He lived a dream that I couldn’t.’


“Like Kenny, I’ve only been on the Kop when it was empty. I would love to think that when I retire it will be impossible for me to watch a game from the Kop too. That would mean I had achieved something great.


“Dalglish told me that the key to Liverpool’s success was the harmony within the team. ‘No team has ever been successful without a good atmosphere in the dressing room’ he said. ‘They don’t have to go out for drinks together or be best friends but having a good group is very important. We had a great dressing room, we were really united. Even now there are six or seven of us that are still close.'


“During that meeting we talked about football. I talked about the fact that there are games when things don’t go for you but that I will never hide. I always want the ball, even if I’m having a bad day. Liverpool’s legendary number 7 said he was the same. ‘Of course you want the ball. You have to keep going. As a striker, you miss more chances than you score. The goals aren’t what matter most; what matters most are the chances you miss. The more you miss, the closer you are to the next one you’re going to score. You have to think like that: if you don’t have the courage to develop that kind of attitude you won’t make it at this level.'


“I learned so much from my time with Kenny. I really like him. He’s a normal person who’s very accessible. He says he doesn’t feel like a legend but that’s exactly what he is. The fact that he has stayed so normal really struck me.


“I can’t be compared to him but I feel proud to have been able to speak to him for so long. It was a real honour for him to have given up his time to talk to me. Meeting Kenny has made me even more hungry for success, even more determined to work hard and maybe, just maybe, see if one day I can compare myself with him.


“I’ll never forget the last piece of advice he gave me, as we were leaving the restaurant. Just as he went out of the door, the greatest player in the history of Liverpool turned to me and said: ‘Fernando, Liverpool is a special club with special fans. They love those players who love wearing their shirt. But they’re not stupid: they know when players mean it and when they don’t; they know when it’s just for show – when a player kisses the badge and all that. They love to identify themselves with the players out on the pitch and I think they’re going to identify with you very, very easily.’


"What an honour.”



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Part 3


Fernando was a boy of four kicking a ball in his back yard as the Hillsborough tragedy unfolded.


The impact of that day and the 96 lives lost was fully brought home to him at the memorial service for the 20th anniversary on April 15 this year.


He said: "I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The stadium was almost full. The Kop was packed.


"The reception we got at Anfield gave me goose bumps. All of our fans stood and gave us an ovation that seemed to go on for ages. The memorial for those who lost their lives sent a shiver through me. It was a tragedy provoked by negligence and one for which there still hasn't been an explanation.


"The families of the dead are still demanding justice. For many the tears are still tears of anger.


"The unity between players and fans comes in part from having that terrible experience together.


"Whenever there is a minute's silence in England's football stadiums it is impeccably observed. It is a minute that goes straight to the heart. A tear puncturing the silence. Can you imagine the Atletico Madrid anthem being listened to in Real Madrid's stadium?


"There were Everton fans at Anfield on that anniversary day who listened in respectful silence. It could only happen in England.


"If there is one thing that has really stood out for me since I've been in England, it's the huge human tide of Liverpool fans.


"Every player dreams of fans like that. Here at Anfield we've got them."



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"You can only ever be a legend in someone’s mind. So long as you never become a legend in your own, there’s no problem. People want to pigeon-hole you, Fernando: they want to label you, rank you, judge you and compare you to others. But all that really matters is that you are yourself."





lucky f*****

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