I had always been fortunate enough to have an important role at the clubs I’d played for. I was captain for many years at Atlético, and even though I was very young, I felt obligated to make my teammates feel safe, protected and understood, specially the ones who didn’t get much playing time or were lacking in confidence. Then all of a sudden, at Chelsea, I found myself in a position where I was the one that needed that kind of treatment, that kind of support. I felt like a child who needed someone to come up to him and carefully explain to him what was going on around him. I felt like I needed someone to tell me I was there for a reason, and it might haven been very childish and immature of me, but I felt like I wasn’t getting that. I missed having a group of players around me providing me comfort and constantly telling me “kid, you’re getting it all wrong. You’re here because you have a job to do and you’re one of us now”. I felt so alone… and… I became one of those players who, while they don’t necessarily give up easily, they think “there’s nothing left for me to do here” too often.”
“I trained my hardest and played as well as I could in that moment, but then I realized I hadn’t played for eight games in a row. I got up and warmed up, and sat down, and warmed up again, yet I didn’t play. I’d never been in that situation before and I couldn’t understand what was happening to me.”
“I come from a club where there is no other choice but to fight against adversity, to stand up for what you believe in, to defend certain values and principles. And what I meant when I said I’d become the player I hated is that somehow, I felt as if I had abandoned most of those values and principles I held so close to my heart, the ones that had got me there in the first place, and the ones that have made me who I am today. I started to have doubts about my beliefs. What if every belief I had previously clung to so fiercely was actually a lie? I’d started having doubts in the back of my mind since the World Cup, when I gave my all for a certain cause and didn’t exactly feel part of it in the end, and then it happened again at Chelsea, but in a much bigger scale. I kept telling myself “you’ve been fighting so hard for something you want and for something you believe in, and you’ve done things your way, the right way… but maybe you’ve been wrong all along.
Everything good that’s happened to me over the past decade started on that day. But it has a deeper meaning than that; intended or not at first, it goes further. Through the good and bad moments, especially the latter, I’ve always thought of the tattoo as the essence of what’s kept me strong. It’s the core of it all, of myself and all that matters to me." -Fernando Torres on Madrid Ink.