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Is Fernando Torres Done At Atletico Madrid And Where Next For El Niño?

Fernando Torres has struggled for form this season
Fernando Torres has said he wants to retire at Atletico Madrid, but is his time at his boyhood club coming to an end at the age of 33? James Walker-Roberts looks at why it might be, and what happens next...
One Segunda Division title. Is that all Fernando Torres will have to show for his time at Atletico Madrid?
One of the club's greatest-ever players, Torres ranks joint-sixth for all-time appearances and is also their sixth highest goalscorer with 123 goals. He is a product of the Atletico academy, signed his first professional contract at the club aged 15, made his first-team debut aged 17 in May 2001 and scored his first goal a week later.
He does, of course, speak the Atletico language - the language of the underdog. "Nobody is inferior to anybody if you give it everything you have," he said last summer, when he also declared his desire to retire at the club where he feels "genuinely happy". But will there be a happy ending?
As much as Torres, 33, is loved at Atletico for his history with the club and his past achievements, there is no hiding the fact that he is past his prime. He has scored five goals in 28 appearances in all competitions this season and even loyal Atletico supporters have been unable to hide their frustration at some of his performances.
Even Atletico head coach Diego Simeone, as much of a club legend as Torres, now appears to be losing patience. He gave a blunt "no" when asked last week if he would try to keep Torres as hard as he was trying to keep Antoine Griezmann.

"Being fair to myself, I obviously said 'no,'" said Simeone. "I say 'obviously' because I think about the team. The question made to me clearly wasn't about the team, and the difference is that I think about the team and about the club."
Torres, who is under contract until the end of the season, has been mainly a back-up for Atletico since his return on a permanent basis from Chelsea in 2015, starting just twice in La Liga this season as Griezmann, Kevin Gameiro and now Diego Costa have been preferred by Simeone. In terms of playing time it is the least amount of minutes he has had in 10 seasons with the club, excluding his debut campaign in 2000/01 when he played only four games.
But despite his lack of impact, columnist Alfredo Relano wrote in Spanish newspaper AS that he does not think Simeone's comments about Torres were merited. "It's unfair of Simeone to treat him like this; he does nothing to deserve it. But 'El Cholo' saw the question as a provocation, and did the worst thing possible: he rose to it.

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