Any player with a FIFA World Cup™, two UEFA EUROs, a UEFA Champions League and an FA Cup listed as won on their CV can be satisfied with their career so far.
Often weighed down by his £50million price-tag since joining Chelsea in January 2011, Fernando Torres has several points still to prove, however. Several trophies still to lift too, starting with the FIFA Club World Cup, which kicks off later this week.
In an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, the Spanish striker discusses Japan 2012, the incentive provided by tournaments such as the FIFA Club World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup, and his take on La Roja’s dominance in world football.
Has it sunk in that you are a Champions League winner?
You are lucky if you can win the Champions League once in your career. If you are very lucky, maybe you can win it more - I have team-mates in the national team who have won it two or three times. To be a Champions League winner is amazing, something that you are going to be proud of and show everyone. When you are retired you can look back and see the Champions League final as one of the highlights of your career.
How much of a different experience will the FIFA Club World Cup be?
We have never been there and it's always a completely different atmosphere in Asia, not just in the crowds, especially the weather conditions and the way the South American teams approach the competition. We will mentally prepare and hopefully we arrive there with enough time to adapt and be focused to win this tournament and take it seriously, as we should. I think it's one of the main targets we should have this season - we are not going to play this tournament again if we don't win the Champions League and if it's difficult to win the Champions League, it's even more difficult to win these games because everyone knows the South American teams, the Asian teams and the other teams take it much more seriously than the European teams. Hopefully that's not the case this season.
How much do you know about the teams you could face in Japan?
I know more about Corinthians than the other teams. We saw them play last season against Santos in the semi-final and some other games. They have great players, as always with the Brazilian teams. Maybe if they play against Chelsea, everyone in the world is watching them play and they have the chance to come to Europe. It's a great scenario for them and for us it's really dangerous.
Are Chelsea favourites?
Should be but, for me, favourite means nothing. The only thing it can add is more pressure for you. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're favourite or not, you have to prove it on the pitch.
How much are you enjoying being the main striker for Chelsea this season?
I'm very happy about that because it's what I have been doing in the past and the role I like to get. Hopefully it can be like this until the end of the season. We still have to improve other things as a team but I think we have the players. We need more time.
It must be slightly easier for you with so much attacking talent playing behind you?
We have been very good defensively this season. But in the middle we have huge quality and those kinds of players have to be the key for us because we need to play for them and the strikers need to understand what they like to do to score more goals. It's just a matter of time and training and being sure that we understand each other. With [Juan] Mata I have been playing for many years in the national team and last season at Chelsea. But Oscar and Eden [Hazard] have just arrived and we need to train more to improve.
Do you feel vindicated in making the move from Liverpool to Chelsea?
I knew that one of the main reasons to come to Chelsea was that Chelsea are always aiming for trophies. I needed to win trophies because they are what you have after you have finished. In my first full season we won the FA Cup and Champions League, what more can you ask? We have a chance now to win the Club World Cup. I have four more years on my contract, hopefully in these four years I can win many more things than the Champions League and FA Cup, starting with the Club World Cup.
You have won almost everything in your career. What goals remain for you?
Many more targets – the Premier League would be amazing, it’s a great trophy. The Capital One Cup, the Community Shield – we lost this season, hopefully we’ll have the chance to play it again. Many things still to win.
Why do you think the Spanish style of play has become so dominant in world football?
If you want to play this style, you need to have the players. Many teams try to do more or less the same but there is no chance, because you need these players. You have Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [David] Silva, Mata, Cesc [Fabregas], [Santi] Cazorla and many more – you can do it. Barcelona with [Lionel] Messi and Alexis [Sanchez] – you can do it. But if you don’t have these kinds of players it’s very difficult. In Spain, sometimes we have more than 80 per cent possession and they cannot lose the ball, it’s almost impossible. When you don’t have the ball you have to defend and that is not one of the strengths of a team that tries to keep the ball. I think you need to adapt and play the best way for the players you have. Spain and Barcelona are exceptions.
Can Spain win a fourth tournament on the run at Brazil 2014?
Why not! We have won three in a row. Hopefully we can win the Confederations Cup this summer before the World Cup because Spain has never won the Confederations Cup, so it would be the first time in Spanish history as well. Afterwards obviously the target is Brazil 2014 – we will go there and try to win the World Cup against Brazil in their own country. That should be the most important day for Spain. Right now, there’s too many things to play first, there’s a long way to Brazil and very difficult to be there with the quality of the players we have now in Spain.
How much are you looking forward to the Confederations Cup?
Trophies like that maybe you only have the chance to play once in your life. We went in South Africa and we lost against USA in the semi-final. You always want to be there because if you want to play in this tournament you have to win the World Cup or EURO. Maybe for me and players of my generation it’s the last Confederations Cup we can play. Hopefully we can win it. Maybe for people it’s not one of the more important but we don’t play it every season so that’s why we need to be there. Just like the Club World Cup in Japan, who knows if we are going to be there again so we need to take this one.