thumbnail Hello, Malaysia's Latino football expert, Mustapha "El Loco" Kamaruddin tips Atletico Madrid wonderkid Oliver Torres for greatness


Atletico Madrid fans must be praying hard for exciting young midfielder Oliver Torres of seeing some action in the new season of Primera Liga which begins this weekend.

Who is this Oliver Torres? Not to be confused with Fernando at Chelsea.

Torres is set to be the new big thing in European football - although many in Asia do not really know much about him, yet.

Big English clubs, after all,  are going gaga over him. Chelsea made their move last week, Manchester United tried a fortnight ago and Arsenal have have been aware of him for 18 months. 
In Oliver Torres Munoz, which is his full name, Atletico are convinced they have a genius on their hands. They really do. One Atletico coach said even in the warm-up, people can see he is a class apart from everyone else as the boy is a natural.

Torres, at 17, bypassed the Atletico B squad to be part of manager Diego Simeone's first team in the final weeks of last season.

This was ahead of helping Spain to victory in the Under-19 European Championships this  summer, playing with and against players over two years his senior.

Here is a frightening factor, though. Torres has been described as a mixture of Barcelona superstars Xavi and Cesc Fabregas!

Obviously, he has the abilities to execute killer passes and Atletico have a striker named Radamel Falcao, aren't they?

The confident Torres is a natural on-field leader and admits he enjoys the responsibility of having the game played through him.

"My best feature is my quality and vision, I like to lead the team," said Torres, who stands at 1.78m. "I'm one who doesn't look too far ahead. I live for today and if things are going well now, that's all that matters." 
Torres' profile may have exploded this summer after the interest of United, Chelsea and Arsenal was made public but Spanish football has known about Torres for years.

At 15, he was tied to a long-term adidas sponsorship contract, one of only five local athletes to land such a deal. But those close to him say the increased exposure would not go to his head.

His family have made huge sacrifices to help him in his career, moving around the country since he was 10, so he could fulfill his Atletico commitments.

He still stays in touch with his former junior teammates and takes his studies seriously - a commitment his parents have insisted upon.

"Studies and football are compatible," said Torres. "But if you do not want to study, there are plenty of excuses you can find. I am clearly tired after training, but I do not care, I can take it."

On the pitch, Torres has Atletico chiefs excited. His contract was upgraded last season and this season is expected to see action under Simeone, unless Atletico can be tempted into selling.

The links with adidas make Chelsea an obvious destination and their sudden shift in transfer policy to target the world's best young players does suggest they will try again for Torres before the market shuts.
But United boss Alex Ferguson does have long-term concerns about the creativity in his midfield and his interest in Torres is unlikely to end with an initial inquiry lodged earlier this month.

It was in Manchester, where Torres played in a youth tournament last year, that Ferguson's scouts were able to see him on English soil and the teen's management are well aware of his increased profile within the Premier League.

But for Torres, he's happy where he is. For the moment at least, his sights are focused on nailing a regular start in Alfredo Santaelena's Atletico B line-up - and keeping his parents happy with good grades.

But for Atletico fans, they want him to see some action in the new season of  Primera Liga. He excites them.

How about it, Senor Simeone?