In Zurich to attend the FIFA World Player Gala 2008, at which he is one of the five nominees in the men's category, it comes as no surprise to learn that Fernando Torres considers last year to have been the best in his career to date. With a boyish smile and the friendliest of demeanours, the Spanish international shared his thoughts on 2008 with FIFA.com.
"Last year was fantastic but if I'm honest with you, it was also unexpected," confessed the Liverpool striker. "I came into it having recently moved to a new club and country and so expected the first year to be about adapting to these. However, I then began to score goals and take on an important role. And though I was unable to win a title with my club, triumphing at EURO 2008 with the national team, which perhaps seemed the most difficult task of all, compensated for that."
While the victory in the final in Vienna was obviously the highlight of the year for the Spaniard, he also singles out another game: "Getting past the barrier of the quarter-finals was vital for us, and even more so doing it against Italy, a team that always beat us. Later, the final against another powerhouse, Germany, was also unforgettable, but it was getting past the quarters that gave us the confidence we needed."
So what was the secret to Spain's success? "The most important thing is the group that has formed," says Torres with conviction. "In teams you often have problems in the dressing room or players who aren't happy unless they're in the starting eleven. In this side, it was the exact opposite. We all knew the role we had to play, and that was fundamental. Moreover, that hasn't changed under [new coach Vincente] Del Bosque," he adds.
Don't miss the complete interview on video shortly on FIFA.com.