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Stoke settle in, seek away breakthrough

Stoke City
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By ESPN Staff

Aragones lauds Spanish match-winner Torres

Fernando Torres is a leading contender to be named world player of the year after firing Spain to the European Championship crown, according to his country's coach Luis Aragones.

The striker, who scored 33 goals for Liverpool last season, finished superbly in the first half of last night's Euro 2008 final to secure a deserved victory over Germany.

Asked about Torres' chances of winning the FIFA player award, Aragones said: 'Fernando is a great player for Liverpool and for our team and he can go anywhere because he has really extraordinary speed and he knows how to dribble.

'We always tell him he's a player who is so young that he can learn to do everything and there is no doubt he can be one of the best players in the world.'

Torres himself claimed Spain now had to turn their minds to winning the biggest prize of all - the World Cup.

The 24-year-old, voted man of the match by UEFA, said: 'It is a dream come true - this was a great victory for the whole team and for the whole of Spain.

'But we still have to be ambitious as we still have the World Cup to come.

'It has been a fantastic season for me - it was fantastic with Liverpool and now a fantastic end of the season for the national team.

'This is the first big trophy for me and I hope not the last.

'We are privileged to be in the national team and we have had a chance to live through a beautiful tournament.

'This is good not just for Spain but for football, because the best team won and that is not always the case.'

Spain have often been viewed in the past as having suffered from divisions within the team and Torres paid tribute to the togetherness of this squad who won the country's first major tournament since 1964.

Torres added: 'I am happy because my job is to score goals and I have done my job tonight but this was a victory for the unity of the group - it doesn't often happen that a group gets along so well.

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