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Fernando Torres: strange journey from storm-force striker to bargaining chip

There is a fear that Torres’s fairytale return to Atlético Madrid might represent the continuation of a long nightmare for the former golden boy. But only the hardest souls will not be wishing him well
• Torres to join Atlético on loan until 2016

It sounds like a fairytale: the return of Fernando Torres to Atlético Madrid, where he built a reputation as one of the world’s most prolific and admired young strikers. Instead the fear must be that it will merely represent the continuation of a long nightmare for the former golden boy of the Estadio Vicente Calderón.

Who would have thought, when Torres scored the only goal in the final of Euro 2008, at the end of a season in which he had accumulated 24 goals for Liverpool, that it would come to this: a journey home in search of sanctuary following rejection by leading clubs in England and Italy, with one club ready to write off a huge transfer fee and the other prepared to pay him, in effect, almost €2m a year not to play for them.

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