Off-colour Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has moved to deny reports of a return to former club Atlético Madrid in the summer. The 29-year-old Spanish international is a World Cup and European Championship winner with his national team and part of the Blues squad that won a maiden Champions League last year but is far from the goal threat he was in his Liverpool days.
Torres has only seven goals and four assists from 29 Premier League games this season and 19 in 52 games across all competitions, a far cry from the 2007/08 season with the Reds, when he scored 24 times in 33 league games.
The striker's poor form, coupled with reports strongly linking the Blues with a summer bid for Atlético striker Radamel Falcao, led to speculation Roman Abramovich may look to offer Torres, a fan favourite at the Vicente Calderon, as part of the bid for the Colombian.
However, Torres has poured cold water on that idea and insisted he will look to honour his contract, which runs till 2016 and prove himself a success at Stamford Bridge.
"I've never hidden that I am grateful because Atletico gave me many things, but the reality is I am in another team and I have three more years on my contract," he told The Sun, "I have a lot of things to give to Chelsea and many things to prove to myself before returning home. Right now, returning to Atletico is not a reality."
He is certainly on the right track to convincing Chelsea fans of his worth, with an important brace of goals in the midweek UEFA Europa League tie against Rubin Kazan. The English club will take a commanding 3-1 lead to Russia next midweek, in this quarter final tie.
The goals are likely to persuade Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez to retain Torres up front for the weekend's Premier League match; Sunderland visit the Bridge on Sunday.
The Blues, Europa League and FA Cup (they play Manchester City in the semi final) aside, know they will need to close the league season on a high and ensure they qualify for the Champions League next season... otherwise, no matter what form Torres is in, it is very unlikely Falcao will be persuaded to transfer to west London. Benitez is presently in fourth, the final qualifying spot, with only two points to fifth-placed Arsenal.