Fernando Torres became the third most expensive player in football history when he joined Chelsea for a reported £50 million ($80.5 million) from Liverpool on Monday. The Spain striker signed a 5 1/2-year contract at Chelsea in a move described by Liverpool as a British record. Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez was widely recognized as being the previous most expensive signing within British football after moving from Manchester United for about £47 million ($75.7 million) in 2009.
The 26-year-old Spanish striker joined Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in 2007. He had 65 goals in 102 appearances with the British club, but the squad is struggling this year and sits seventh in the league table. Torres spent 3 1/2 years at Liverpool, scoring 81 goals, but grew frustrated as the 18-time league champions struggled to keep pace with England’s leading clubs. Despite a disappointing world cup show in 2010, Torres remains one of the most wanted players in the world. He led Spain to a famous European Championship final victory over Germany in 2008.
The fee is only bettered by Real Madrid’s purchases of Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil playmaker Kaka in 2009. It is a similar figure to that paid to Inter Milan by Barcelona for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2009, a deal that sent Samuel Eto’o to the Italian team.
Though he’s only been at Stamford Bridge a short time, Torres already said something that will probably drive the psychotic fringes of Liverpool fandom to burn more of his old shirts. Speaking to Chelsea TV, Torres said: It’s always very tough to play against Chelsea, they are one of the biggest teams in Europe, always fighting for everything. So after that there is no more to look forward — it’s the top level and this is the target for every footballer. To play in one of the top level clubs in the world and I can do it now, so I have to be very happy, as I am.
Of course, Joe Cole called Liverpool the biggest club in the country when he moved there from Chelsea at the start of this season, so it’s all relative.
As his replacement, Liverpool reportedly signed Luis Suarez from Ajax for €26.5 million ($36.4 million) and Andy Carroll from Newcastle for a £35 million ($56.4 million).