Fernando Torres has thanked Chelsea for standing by him during some difficult times and played down rumours he could be sold this summer.
Torres has just enjoyed his most prolific season to date with the Blues, scoring 23 goals in all competitions, including the opener in the Europa League final victory over Benfica. Even so, with the Blues having been linked with the likes of Radamel Falcao and Edinson Cavani, there have been suggestions that Torres could make way.
However, the 29-year-old believes a club of Chelsea’s stature should have three or four top strikers in the squad and does not believe there is any intent to offload him.
“I have to thank the club,” he said. “From the first day it has not been easy, especially in the press. The first season the club has always stood by me and I really appreciate that. I have a good relationship with the directors and the owner and they always have strong belief in me.
“The rumours are not coming from the club. It is normal. When I was in Atletico Madrid, I was linked with all the teams in the world every summer, and at Liverpool it was the same, and now with Chelsea.
“Rumours cannot be stopped, but the rumours are one thing, the reality is another thing. When Daniel Sturridge left to join Liverpool, we bring in Demba Ba, and everything is fine. Every top club needs to have three or four top strikers and that’s normal.”
He also said it was “normal” that a club like Chelsea would be linked with the likes of Falcao.
“In the summer, the top players are linked with top clubs,” he added. “The summer comes and rumours start: strikers, goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders look like they are going to come and, at the end of the day, only three or four players come every summer.
“They can come and see what happens, but everyone who comes to Chelsea is going to be welcome.”
It appears all but certain that Jose Mourinho will be in charge of the club next season, with Real Madrid having reached an agreement for him to leave the Bernabeu at the end of the season.
Torres said the prospect of playing under Mourinho is a “big motivation” but insisted it is important to show respect for interim coach Rafa Benitez.
“This season is not finished so we want to have respect for Rafa. We know he is going to leave and we have to wait until the club announce the new manager. Obviously everyone is talking about Mourinho, always the top managers in the world are related with the top clubs in the world, so this is the situation now.
“Chelsea is looking for a new manager, Jose Mourinho is free, so it is easy now. Everyone links Mourinho with Chelsea because of his past, what he has said in the last few months, and we have players that have been working with him so they have great memories with him at Chelsea.
“We’ll see what happens. To have the chance to be under Mourinho’s management is a challenge and a big motivation, so we will see what happens, but we should have respect for Rafa this last week.”