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Chelsea's Fernando Torres attempts an overhead kick during their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London, April 19, 2014.
Chelsea's Fernando Torres attempts an overhead kick during their English Premier League soccer match against Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in London, April 19, 2014.Reuters

Fernando Torres was the sole Chelsea player given a warm welcome by Atletico Madrid fans as the Blues arrived in the Spanish capital ahead of tonight's Champions League semi-final first leg.

The Spanish striker, who has struggled since his £50m move from Liverpool in 2011, has been limited to just 15 Premier League starts with manager Jose Mourinho frequently preferring Samuel Eto'o ahead of the club's record signing.

However, the Cameroonian is set to miss the game due to a knee injury, putting the onus on Torres to start firing with Belgium playmaker Eden Hazard still a doubt for the first leg despite travelling with the team.

With the club's two top scorers this season missing, 'El Nino' could have the opportunity to emerge from the tunnel at the Vicente Calderon seven years after his departure to lead Chelsea's march towards the Champions League final against the club he grew up at.

So great is his connection with Atleti that Torres would have rather have seen his side paired with Bayern Munich or Real Madrid instead of Diego Simeone's side, recently telling El Mundo: "[Would you like to face them?] No, no. [Is it due to the feelings or just football issues?] For both. It would be hard. Football would be very unfair for Atletico if they are not champions."

Injuries have previously prevented Torres from facing his boyhood club as a Liverpool player. The striker was ruled out both ties against the Spanish side in the group stage of the 2008/09 Champions League campaign and was unable to feature again in the Europa League semi-final in 2009/10.

Since he left Atleti, Torres took on his former club on a pre-season friendly match at Anfield and was presented with the chance again as a Chelsea player in 2012 in the Uefa Super Cup, losing 4-1 as Radamel Falcao scored a hat-trick in Monaco.

With his long-term future in west London in real doubt, his boyhood club Atletico have hinted that they would welcome him back with welcome arms. Atletico coach Diego Simeone told Spanish radio station Onda Cero this week: "Fernando is always with us, obviously I have sent messages to him, he is very happy with everything that is happening to this team, he is always present, wishing us luck. Of course he would love to come back to the club he grew up in and where he was very happy".

With star striker Diego Costa tipped to complete a move to Stamford Bridge this summer, Torres could have the perfect chance to re-establish himself as first-choice centre-forward back in Madrid with Atletico fans ready to welcome him back.