World Soccer: Which is more important for you to win with Liverpool: the Premier League or the Champions League?
Fernando Torres: When I came to England my priority was to win the Champions League, but I soon learned from the fans that I had it the wrong way around. They told me: “We must win the Premier League,” because the club had not won the championship for nearly 20 years.
Now I feel the same way. It’s even more important now because Manchester United have won the same number of titles as us . We have to overtake them this season. Winning the league here would be like winning the European Championship with Spain last year.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid make it easier for you to overtake Manchester United?
He has been one of the best players in the world for the last three years and it will be
a big loss for the Premier League. It will be strange, at first, watching him on television playing for Real and not in the Premier League. But I don’t think Manchester United will become weaker, they have so many brilliant players. Next season is not about them losing more games but about Liverpool winning more games. It’s all in the mind.
You have said frequently that you feel at home in Liverpool. Why is that?
It’s because Liverpool is a working city. At the weekend the people go to watch their team
at Anfield and they want to “escape” by watching the best team in the country.
I had a lot of offers from a lot of clubs but I was always attracted to Liverpool because of the reputation of the people from the city, the club’s supporters and their history, and I wanted to help to make this one of the greatest clubs in the world again.
Do you think Manchester City can be equally as big with all their spending power and plans?
Manchester City must first play in the Champions League, or at least the Europa League, if they want to persuade the really big players to join them.
Big players want to win trophies and Manchester City are not in the race for trophies in England, let alone Europe. Chelsea were among the top clubs in the Premier League before they started to sign really big stars. Now everyone wants to play for Chelsea. When City tried to sign Kaka they offered him a fantastic contract, but there are more things in football than money.
A player wants to be remembered for what he has won, for what he has given his club. Ten years after you stop playing you want to have medals, trophies. You may have a fantastic car and home but it’s not the same. No player looks back and counts the money.
Which is best: Premier League or La Liga?
English football has an enormous following across the world, not just because of the players but because of its history, its tradition, the excitement, the capacity crowds.
The other leagues can learn a lot, even La Liga. Madrid have signed Kaka and Ronaldo, and Barcelona have Xavi and Messi but, really, the Premier League is way ahead.