'We have a fantastic team beyond Messi' - Torres reveals why he chose Man City

Ferran Torres, Man City
Manchester City
Spain international turned down host of European giants to work with Pep Guardiola and follow in the footsteps of his idol David Silva

Amid the speculation surrounding the potential signing of Lionel Messi, Manchester City’s capture of one of the most exciting forwards from La Liga has been somewhat forgotten.

Ferran Torres joined from Valencia in August for a bargain £21 million ($27m) as City moved quickly to replace outgoing winger Leroy Sane.

The 20-year-old had interest from a host of top European clubs including Manchester UnitedJuventusBorussia DortmundReal Madrid and Atletico Madrid but opted  to join up with Pep Guardiola’s squad.

His mind was made up as soon as learned of City’s interest with the Etihad Stadium viewed as the place where he can improve and challenge for every major prize, even if the Champions League remains agonisingly out of reach for the Premier League club.

“When I spoke to Pep he told me to come to Manchester, that my arrival would be important for the team and that he envisioned the club as a great place for me. From that point, to be honest, I was absolutely convinced to come,” Torres said.

While Messi ultimately remained at Barcelona, Torres has no doubts about the quality of the squad he is teaming up with.

“I think we have a fantastic team beyond Messi,” he added. “We have a group of players ready to compete against any opponent and we are able to do great things in the Champions League. 

Liverpool are a really strong team and they have proved it in the last years. At the same time I think we have a squad to win back the Premier League. 

“About my personal ambitions, I always want to score goals and assist my team-mates but above all I want to play and earn my place in the squad.”

Torres has already drawn comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo because of his combination of athleticism, speed and skill and while the Portuguese winger has set high standards to follow, the Spain international wants to emulate him.

There are already signs that he has the same steely focus to be a success as Ronaldo. Insiders at the club have already been surprised by his clear determination and attention to detail away from the pitch since his move to Manchester.

He also flew to Portugal to get himself ready for the new Premier League season - one of the few countries that would not require a two-week quarantine when he arrived in the UK. It also meant he was ready to make his full debut for Spain, starting the 1-1 draw with Germany before scoring in the 4-0 victory over Ukraine.

“It was a kind of a pre-season for me as there had been a lot of downtime,” he said. “I did some physical work to help me prepare for the level that was required. I knew that in a matter of days I had to be playing an international game and you have to be ready. 

“This season will be even more important to be in good condition because with the Covid situation there will be a lot of games in a short space of time. The preparation is key in order to avoid injuries.

"In Portugal I ran on the beach, I worked on the gym and also started training in the pitch with my boots on to get used to it again. My stay in Portugal was basically a week-long training camp to get ready. My holidays were over!”

New signings have often taken their time to get to grips with the demands of playing in a Guardiola system with players such as Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Joao Cancelo finding their first seasons at City a difficult transition.

The physicality and relentlessness of the Premier League, amplified by this season’s gruelling schedule, could also make Torres’ acclimatisation tougher but he is determined to give everything to play his part from the start.

Ferran Torres

“The Premier League has a different style,” he added. “Here it is more contact, tougher and more physical. So I also wanted to be at the right level to cope with that.

“That’s what football is about. Trying to adapt the quickest you can to new ideas. I try to absorb fast the mechanisms and systems that the manager requires so I can be ready as soon as possible for him. I think I am on the right track and learning from all what the coaching staff ask for.

“City is one of the best clubs in the world and while being here is always a challenge, every window, if the situation is not good in one position, the club can find someone in the market. 

“It’s a challenge for me to play at a high level and for the rest of the team too, so that they do not look for a replacement.”

Torres has taken the 21 shirt number vacated by his hero and former Valencia star David Silva, who left in the summer after 10 years at the club where he became arguably City’s greatest ever player.

“I do have really good memories of watching him when I was young at La Mestalla,” he said. “The team they had, with [David] Villa and [Juan] Mata as well, was excellent. They practically won everything. 

“I also have a lot of memories about when we waited for the first-team players to come out from the training sessions. We would be waiting for that moment to ask them pictures and signatures. I remember looking for David Silva above the rest.

“It was a huge honour for me when the club told me I could choose the 21 shirt. Just for what it means here. I will try to give my best and be a part of the history of this club. 

“Speaking about reaching what David Silva did in Manchester are very strong words, but obviously it’s an honour to inherit his number.”

Silva’s are big boots to fill, but if Torres can get anywhere close to matching his impact, Guardiola and the City fans will be more than happy.