Speaking in an exclusive interview with Marca, new Manchester City player Ferran Torres discussed why he left Valencia, problems at the Primera club and his relationship with captain Dani Parejo.
When did you first hear that Manchester City wanted you?
I was very nervous that day. My agent was in Manchester with the club and he called me to tell me they had an agreement and I’d play for City. It’s a club who want to win everything so I think I’ll improve a lot.
What did Pep Guardiola say?
He congratulated me and gave me peace of mind. It calmed me down and made me want to sign even more.
Now that you’re officially a City player, how do you feel?
On the one hand, excited and happy, but at the same time sad because I’m leaving my club. Valencia gave me everything and have me since I was seven. I’ve had hard times there and that’s why I ended up leaving, but I want to emphasise that I’m very grateful to the club and will always support them. The problem is that there are people within the club and a few journalists who are determined to damage my image. I don’t want to leave on bad terms because I’m a Valencia fan.
Have you felt attacked?
When the club decided to put me in the first team I began to come under pressure and receive criticism. It wasn’t just me, but they wanted to harm my representatives and my family. The same people who now campaign against me said then that I would fail, which hurt a lot at 17. But I must admit that there were other journalists who treated me with love and respect. There are, however, club employees working to smear my image.
You seem hurt. Do you think you can return to Valencia in the future?
I’m sure I can. I refuse to think otherwise. Even if there are crooked people. A lot of them won’t be there in a few years and I’ll have shown that I deserve to return.
When did you decide to leave?
I started thinking about it last summer after the European Under-19 Championship. The club told me personally that they weren’t counting on me. They literally said that I was the fifth winger in the squad, that reinforcements were coming and other players from other positions were ahead of me. It was a very hard blow for me, but what was worse was that they even put me on the market and offered me to teams in Spain. There were calls from 12 La Liga clubs, including Levante and one Segunda Division club. That’s when I started thinking about leaving.
Did you ever consider a renewal? What were the conditions?
One was for Peter Lim to be involved so that I knew I was important, another was to be captain as I had seen other clubs do, like Atletico Madrid with Fernando Torres, for example, and the third was to be one of the highest-paid players. I wanted two of the three, but none were fulfilled.
Do you think that you did what you could to stay at Valencia?
Absolutely. I wanted to stay and I put forward the conditions to do so. They weren’t above the club’s means. I know they’re not in the same position as big European clubs, but I was able to lead that project and wanted to be treated as such. The club didn’t want to keep me.
There are rumours that you have a bad relationship with Dani Parejo. Are they true?
After three years I’m more mature and mentally stronger. But at 17, no. He’s a great player but I never had a relationship with him. When I joined the first team at 17, a number of weeks passed before he said a simple ‘good morning’ to me. He wasn’t a good captain with me. The worst of it came after Marcelino’s departure when [Lee] Kang-in and I were seen as culprits in the dressing room and they stopped talking to us for weeks.
What do you make of Kang-in’s situation?
I love him a lot and he knows it. I’ve helped him a lot and he’s going to be a great player. I hope they don’t make the same mistakes they made with me. He needs love and trust because he’s been through hard times and has felt alone.
City have a big Champions League tie against Real Madrid coming up.
City did well at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid are a great team but I don’t think they’ll get through.
Before we finish, were there offers from other big teams?
Yes, very big teams called but I have to keep that to myself.