Torres: A tough year for me
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres rediscovered his goalscoring touch for Spain on Saturday and will look to round off a disappointing season on a positive note in tomorrow's friendly against Venezuela in Puerto La Cruz.
Torres' second-half strike in Foxborough, just outside Boston, rounded off a 4-0 victory over an under-strength USA team and the 27-year-old, who netted just once for Chelsea in the second half of the season following his transfer from Liverpool, was delighted with his display and that of the Spain side.
"At the national team everything is still the same and we look ahead," he said. "I've felt very comfortable since the beginning. We were eager to win United States. It's still a friendly, but the feeling is good. It has been proven that even being at the end of the season the commitment with the national team is always very high.
"It has been a tough year for me," he added. "I've only played two matches with the national team since Liechtenstein at the beginning of the season. The injuries have prevented me from being with my mates, but I'm happy - I still score goals. The team has won and the feeling is good for next year's European Championships. Now we have to think about Venezuela, then resting and I expect the next season to be different."
Torres could be handed a starting berth at the Estadio Jose Pachencho Romero tomorrow ahead of Barcelona's David Villa. Coach Vicente del Bosque said: "Now we have much competition in the forward positions - Villa, Torres, [Alvaro] Negredo, [Fernando] Llorente and other guys who could be here. This is a good time for Spanish football, for Spanish sport in general."
The world and European champions showed emphatically at the weekend that they could put club rivalries aside on the international stage. There had been concerns of bad blood when Barcelona and Real Madrid players got together in the international set-up after the bad-tempered UEFA Champions League semi-final between the two clubs.
However, such worries were banished at the weekend as Del Bosque's side enjoyed a comfortable win. Santi Cazorla scored either side of an Alvaro Negredo strike as Spain went 3-0 up in the first half, and half-time substitute Torres wrapped things up midway through the second period.
Villarreal forward Cazorla said: "It has been shown that the group is still together. I am very pleased that with Spain we always have to give everything. Playing for this team is a privilege."
As well as Cazorla playing a starring role at the weekend, Manchester City's David Silva caught the eye of coach Del Bosque with two assists. "Silva has been playing very well at Manchester City," Del Bosque said on Radio Federacion. "He has looked very comfortable, very active, which is what we ask of a player who plays in that position. He played an excellent match."
Malaga forward Jose Rondon looks set to miss out for Venezuela due to a leg injury, but another Spain-based player, Getafe striker Nicolas Fedor, has joined up with the squad just 24 hours after getting married. This will be the third game between the nations, with Spain having won both previous encounters - 2-0 in Caracas in 1981 and 3-2 in Las Palmas seven years ago.