Torres: I never thought my Spain career was over

The striker admits he has endured "a very strange year" at club level with Chelsea but is relishing being part of the national set-up ahead of their friendly with Bolivia
Fernando Torres insists he never believed his international career was over after being called up for the Spain squad for Friday's friendly with Bolivia.

The Chelsea striker managed 11 goals in all competitions in the 2013-14 campaign, but was largely restricted to a back-up role to Samuel Eto'o under boss Jose Mourinho.

Despite his domestic struggles, Torres was handed a place in Spain's set-up for their World Cup warm-up by Vicente del Bosque, who has opted to rest a number of regular stars who were involved in last weekend's Champions League final, including strikers Diego Costa and David Villa.

And Torres maintains he has the same desire as ever to compete on the international stage as he looks to secure a spot in the 23-man World Cup squad, due to be announced on Sunday.

"I've never thought that I had played my last game. I am excited to come to the national team. I've been very happy here and I feel in good shape for the World Cup," he told a press conference on Tuesday.

"You always have doubts when you're away for a time. The other day, when the coach gave the list I was very excited waiting for my name. My dream is the same as when I made my debut. I was prepared to come or not to come, after a very strange year, in which I played little. But fortunately I am here and I will fight to be in the latest list."

Diego Costa's place is in doubt due to a persistent hamstring problem but Torres is confident the player himself will be able to make the call on whether he will be fit enough for the tournament.

"The player is the one who has to decide if he is in optimal condition for the World Cup," said the 30-year-old. "If the coach has called him up it is because he can give his best, there is no question from the medical services."

Torres also admits he is looking forward to facing Netherlands in their World Cup group after beating the Oranje in the final in 2010, but warns that Spain must not allow themselves to slip up in their opening game as they did against Switzerland four years ago.
"We like to play against them [Netherlands]. Netherlands and Chile are very complicated, Australia are also dangerous because they can be a surprise," he said.

"Netherlands are a great team, they will be looking forward to revenge and we don't want to make the mistakes of the previous World Cup against Switzerland.
"In my case it would be my third World Cup. In Germany [in 2006] we learned a lot and we used it in South Africa. We have to enjoy it, and the results will come."

Barcelona youngster Gerard Deulofeu also earned a surprise spot for the Bolivia clash after impressing during a loan spell with Everton, but the 20-year-old says he is not allowing himself to be distracted with thoughts of making the World Cup party.

"I ended my season with Everton and I was on holiday. I received a call from Andoni [Zubizarreta] and he told me that I could come and I quickly began to train," he said.
"It has been great, I am very happy to be here with these players.
"I'm not thinking about Brazil, I have to enjoy this week and I want to learn from them and what has to happen will happen.
"[Jesus] Navas is injured but I don't want to think about Brazil. I repeat to myself that I want to learn.
"[England] has been a great experience [for me] as a person and as a player."