Chelsea's troubled Spanish striker Fernando Torres is in surprisingly bullish form, ahead of his side's first leg Champions League semi-final game against reigning Spanish and European champions Barcelona, according to comments the player made to The Sun.
Torres, 28, transferred to Stamford Bridge from the Blues' domestic rivals Liverpool, for the mammoth sum of £50 million - a British transfer record - in January, 2011. Since then the World Cup-winning striker has stuttered along, with only eight goals in 60 appearances for the club. His recent form under interim manager Roberto Di Matteo has improved slightly though, in terms of performances if not goals.
Ahead of what promises to be an epic clash with the Catalans, Torres has been quoted as saying he is desperate not only to prove himself but also help his club win the Champions League.
"I know the ambitions this club has in terms of winning the Champions League, but it's the same as what I have myself. It's something I dreamt about as a youngster growing up. I never really thought about winning the World Cup as I thought it was impossible. But now I have achieved that and I know what it feels like, so to win the Champions League would be a dream come true," Torres explained.
The London club will host the Catalans in the first leg on Wednesday night and despite the fact that several commentators and experts have either written off their chances of progressing to the finals or even putting up a fight, the players themselves are full of confidence. An earlier IBTimes UK report quoted John Terry and Didier Drogba as rallying the club, while another IBTimes UK report spoke of Frank Lampard's determination to complete "unfinished business".
Meanwhile, Torres admits that although he is desperate to start against Barcelona, he may have to be content with a place on the bench. Nevertheless, he does point out he holds an excellent record against their opponents, having scored seven times in 10 games, while playing for Atletico Madrid.
"I have a good record against Barcelona. They are the type of team you have to defend well against and play on the counter-attack, which is the type of game I enjoy. When I was at Atletico, we won at the Nou Camp two or three times," he said.
Lampard, Terry, Drogba and Torres are not the only Blues' men giving the pep talks. Chelsea manager Di Matteo was quoted in another report by The Sun as saying Barcelona did fear his side.
"Barcelona don't like to play against us. The results in the past show that. The players are motivated and we can give them problems," the Italian explained, while adding the game was certainly the biggest of his Chelsea career to date.