Liverpool superstar Torres denied dream return to Atletico as UEFA insist on neutral venue

Fernando Torres

No return home: Fernando Torres celebrates another Liverpool goal

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has spoken of his disappointment after hearing his much-anticipated return to the Vicente Calderon could be scuppered.

Torres had been due to face former club Atletico Madrid at the stadium in the
Champions League next week, but that now looks unlikely after UEFA hit the
Spanish club with a stadium ban this morning.

The ruling saw Atletico fined 150,000 euros (£120,000) for their fans' racist
abuse of Marseille players earlier this month and handed a three-match stadium ban - one game suspended - after crowd trouble and lack of organisation at the same match.

Torres, who came up through the ranks at Atletico and quickly become a fans'
favourite before moving to Liverpool in a big-money move a year ago, heard the
news while on international duty with Spain in Belgium.

'After so much time waiting, it is the worst and most unexpected news that I could have heard this morning,' the 24-year-old told Marca.

'I'm eager to go back. I don't know if it is definitive, I hope that a solution can be found. It is a shame that these incidents have forced the stadium to be closed, but if this is what happens then we have to accept it.'

Enlarge   Marseille and Atletico Madrid riot

Enlarge   Marseille and Atletico Madrid riot

Scrapping in the stand: Madrid police try to calm fans down after violence breaks out between Marseille and Atletico Madrid supporters

The sanctions against Atletico are UEFA's toughest action on racist behaviour, and Rojiblancos' coach Javier Aguirre has also been banned for his club's home and away fixtures against Liverpool for insulting Marseille player Mathieu Valbuena.

UEFA confirmed the penalties today and said the next two Champions League home
games cannot be played within 300 kilometres of Madrid. The third match ban will
be invoked only if there is a repeat of crowd trouble or racist chanting within
the next five years.

Torres' Liverpool team-mate and fellow Spain international Jose Reina added: 'It's a huge blow for us, the Spanish players at Liverpool. Above all for Fernando, who was the most eager of all of us to visit the Calderon.

'As well as that, we all had commitments, tickets agreed, and this changes all the plans.'

Reina's father, Miguel Reina Santos, played for Atletico in the 1970s.