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Torres: I lost my appetite for football

Fernando Torres says he fell out of love with football as he struggled to get into the Chelsea first team last season.

• Blog: Flawed policy opens door for Cole

Torres, 28, has started this campaign in good form after being handed the responsibility of being Chelsea's first choice marksman following the summer exit of Didier Drogba.

But only a few months ago, the Spain international was struggling to maintain his appetite for the game as his £50 million move to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool turned sour.

Speaking to El Pais, Torres revealed his despair as he was left on the sidelines for both club and country, and praised Blues boss Roberto Di Matteo for helping him rediscover his passion for the game.

"Halfway through last season, I distanced myself from the values I had grown up with," he said. "In the past, I had team-mates who didn't care if the team won or lost because they were not playing.

"I never wanted to be like that - but one day I discovered that I was like them, that it didn't matter if Chelsea won or lost. I wasn't part of the group.

"I discovered that I was not happy because I had stopped being what I had always wanted to be. In the dressing room, you can never lose that group concept, but I learnt to look at myself and to realise that the only person that can change is you.

"I became more mature, I came to know myself better and became conscious of the fact that it depends on me. I learnt to be more self-critical, to understand everyone better and to accept the situation."

Torres said he hoped that, when he retired from playing, "no one can say that I was a bad team-mate or disrespectful or self-important".

He said Di Matteo, who succeeded Andre Villas-Boas at Stamford Bridge, had "made me a better player", explaining: "I can control some issues I didn't control in the past".

And he said he had "no regrets about moving to English football" - he joined Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in 2007 - saying that applied on both professional and personal levels.

"I owe Liverpool a huge amount. Liverpool is a fundamental part of my life," he said. "Their fans don't remember me that way, but time will change that. I could not have chosen a better place to go.

"The other day, when the news broke about Hillsborough, I felt emotional. I know what the people have been through, I have seen them cry. I've lived that, I made it mine. Also, my son is still a Liverpool fan."

Torres played the final 15 minutes of Spain's 1-1 draw with France on Tuesday and returns to Chelsea injury-free ahead of Saturday's Premier League game against Tottenham and Villas-Boas at White Hart Lane.

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