Torres snubs Chelsea as he puts his success down to being at Liverpool

Fernando Torres has delivered the final blow to Chelsea’s hopes of signing him by paying a remarkable tribute to his Liverpool team-mates in the wake of Spain’s Euro 2008 triumph.

Manager Rafa Benitez and co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett had already done their utmost to deter Chelsea after Sportsmail revealed Roman Abramovich was ready to sanction a £40million-plus record bid for Liverpool’s leading marksman.


Final touch: Torres beats keeper Jens Lehmann to score Spain¿s winner

The official line from Anfield still needed Torres’s endorsement, though, and Chelsea were clinging to the hope that Abramovich’s vast fortune might yet turn his head.

They will surely have to abandon their bold plan after Liverpool’s £21m record buy dedicated his brilliant winning goal against Germany in Vienna on Sunday to everyone at Anfield.

In a gesture that underlined his feeling for Liverpool, after just one season there, Torres took time off from celebrating in Spain’s dressing room to send text messages to friends and team-mates on Merseyside, thanking them for helping him land his first major trophy.

‘I want to thank all the staff and players at Liverpool for their support during these championships because it makes a real difference when you know you have the backing of the people at your club,’ he said. ‘Because of that, they share in our success.

‘I had a wonderful first season for Liverpool and the goals I scored gave me the confidence and belief I needed for the Euros. Again, I would like to thank Rafa and his staff because I have improved as a player due to their help.

‘It isn’t just the people at the club who have helped me, though. It is also the supporters and people of the city. From the moment I first came to Liverpool I have been made to feel so welcome. That is why I am able to enjoy my football so much.

‘It is incredible really because the Liverpool fans have given me so much support. I know they have even been supporting Spain in this tournament and I can’t thank them enough for that. It is something I will never forget.’

Torres will waste no time setting his sights on the Barclays Premier League title when he returns from holiday and links up with his team-mates, who began reporting back for pre-season training yesterday.

‘I hope Sunday’s win proves to be the first of many because I want to win many more major titles with Liverpool and Spain,’ said Torres. ‘I am really looking forward to competing for trophies with the Reds because I know that means so much to the club and fans.’

Benitez has added to his backroom staff by appointing former Valencia and Argentina centre back Mauricio Pellegrino first team coach.

Sammy Lee had already been recruited as assistant manager but with Alex Miller moving to Japanese club JEF United Chiba, as well as Pako Ayesteran leaving earlier last season, Benitez felt he needed another new face.

Pellegrino made 12 appearances for Liverpool during a brief stint at Anfield in 2005. He is still remembered for collecting discarded Champions League Final losers’ medals after the penalty shoot-out win over AC Milan in Istanbul and distributing them among some of the younger Liverpool players.

Anthony Le Tallec has signed a permanent deal with French side Le Mans after being farmed out on loan by Liverpool for the last four seasons. The former France Under 21 forward had spells with St Etienne, Sunderland, Sochaux and Le Mans.

Xabi Alonso believes England can take inspiration from Spain and end their own trophy drought. ‘They have waited a long time like us but they have the players to do it,’ said the Liverpool midfielder.

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