Fernando Torres believes he was unfairly portrayed as a “traitor” by Liverpool following his departure to Chelsea.
The 32-year-old, who became a fan-favourite at Anfield after scoring 65 goals in 102 league appearances for the club, moved to Chelsea in January 2011 for a then-British transfer record of £50m.
Despite enjoying huge personal success during his first three seasons at Liverpool, Torres became unsettled at the direction the club was taking as a potential takeover loomed and sought to have talks with managing director Christian Purslow in the summer of 2010.
Torres wanted to know if the club’s financial position would lead to key players – including himself – being sold, but was left frustrated by the sale of Javier Mascherano to Barcelona soon afterwards.
The club was sold to Fenway Sports Group in October 2010 and Damien Comolli was appointed as director of football the following month.
“Comolli told me that the new owners (FSG), they had an idea of how to spend their investment,” says Torres.
“They wanted to bring in young players, to build something new. I was thinking to myself, this takes time to work. It takes two, three, four, maybe even 10 years.
“I didn’t have that time. I was 27 years old. I did not have time to wait. I wanted to win. Here we are five years later and they are still trying to build – around the same position in the league as when I left.”
Torres admits he did speak to then-Liverpool boss Kenny Daglish about the possibility of leaving – but insists that was only after the club had begun discussions with Chelsea.
A source from within the club subsequently leaked that Torres had “verbally requested” a transfer and the striker felt this was a betrayal of his trust.
Once the player’s willingness to move to Chelsea became public, Torres admits it “changed the view of everybody, including myself”.
“It was presented as if I was a traitor,” says Torres. “It was not like this in the discussion(s).
“Liverpool could not admit they were doing something wrong with the whole team. They had to find a guilty one.”