Torres has been out of this world for Atletico, says Simeone

The Argentine has heaped praise on the striker, who netted the only goal in Wednesday’s crucial Liga win over Villarreal at El Madrigal

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says Fernando Torres has been “out of this world” since rejoining the club during the winter transfer window.

Torres came through the youth team ranks at the Vicente Calderon before establishing himself as one of the most lethal strikers in the world with his goalscoring exploits with the Rojiblancos.

The striker went to another level after a subsequent switch to Liverpool but his career stalled terribly after his £50 million move to Chelsea in January 2011.

Torres was eventually discarded by the Blues last summer but then endured a dismal loan spell at AC Milan before being allowed to return to Atletico midway through the current season.

The 31-year-old has since shown flashes of his old form, with his cool finish in Wednesday’s Liga clash with Villarreal not only earning Atletico three precious points in their bid to finish third but also the admiration of his coach.

“He was important in the 3-0 win last weekend against Elche even though he didn’t score,” Simeone told reporters on Friday. “He was willing, competitive, and he came close to scoring.

“The other day against Villarreal he buried the first chance he got expertly. That’s what we need from him: goals, movement, hard work and speed. 

“Since he arrived – in training and the way he has settled into the squad – he’s been out of this world.

“The important thing is on the pitch and he is giving us what we have asked of him.”

The victory at El Madrigal means that Atleti are now six points ahead of Valencia and Sevilla, who are tied for fourth place. However, Simeone is taking nothing for granted and is thus talking up the importance of Saturday’s clash with Athletic Bilbao.

“Tomorrow’s match is more important than Barcelona one,” the Argentine added. “I mean, we have to win tomorrow. That is my message. 

“I expect a Calderon who understands the importance of this game. I want the stadium to participate and not be silent.

“We will play with our weapons and try to promote the virtues of the players. We always try to find what is best for us. 

“Luckily for us, we are still in third place with four rounds remaining.

“We can always improve, but I do not want us to forget that we are on track to qualify for the Champions League for the third successive season, something that the club has not been achieved in more than 110 years of history.”