Former Barcelona coach and current Bayern Munich manager and Josep Guardiola believes that Atletico Madrid have hit the jackpot by bringing Fernando Torres back to the Vicente Calderon.
Torres left La Liga for Liverpool in 2007, one year before Guardiola famously took the reins at Camp Nou, and returned earlier this month on loan from AC Milan having flopped at San Siro and Chelsea before that.
Football pundits and fans were split over whether Torres would burden another club with his lack of goals, but he stunned arch-rivals Real Madrid on Thursday by scoring a double to knock the holders out of the Copa del Rey at the Round of 16. Guardiola, who now coaches Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, believes that the Spain international is perfectly suited to life under Diego Simeone’s wing in Madrid.
“Torres is a crack player, he knows Atletico are the club of his heart, and he’s perfect for them,” Guardiola told reporters from Bayern’s winter break training camp in Doha. “Simeone likes to play counter-attacking football and Torres fits perfectly into the club and their system.”
Guardiola also highlighted Atletico as one of Bayern’s five biggest rivals for the UEFA Champions League this season, alongside holders Real Madrid, his former club Barcelona, Jose Mourinho’s Premier League table-toppers Chelsea and cash-rich French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
“Atletico, Barca and Real Madrid can complicate things at Bayern in Europe,” he added. “Chelsea are also going to fight, perhaps PSG and, of course, we’ll be up there too.”
Bayern have been drawn in the Round of 16 of the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk, while they are back in competitive action on Jan. 30 versus second-placed Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.