Fernando Torres grateful for World Cup opportunity
Fernando Torres has spoken of his delight to be back in the Spain fold and is determined to make the most of his opportunity with World Cup spots up for grabs.
A combination of injury and disappointing form for Chelsea had seen Torres lose his place in the Spain set-up over the last year but the striker earned a recall to the provisional 30-man World Cup squad that coach Vicente del Bosque named earlier this month.
And Torres was also one of the players retained by Del Bosque on Sunday for their upcoming pre-World Cup friendly with Bolivia, giving the 30-year-old a chance to further press his claims for a spot on the plane to Brazil.
The former Atletico Madrid and Liverpool striker, who scored in the finals of both Euro 2008 and Euro 2012, told the Spanish press on Monday: "It's very nice to be back with the national team. I've gone a year without being with La Roja, since the Confederations Cup.
"I knew that anything could happen. Yesterday, I was only hoping to hear my name. I knew that I could've been here or not, but now I have a better chance of being in Brazil.
"It's been a difficult year but I finished the season very well. I'm grateful for the words of Vicente, who has valued my performances in the final phases.
"Now to fight during these days to be in the final list for Brazil."
While Torres was included in Del Bosque's 19-man squad for the game against Bolivia, three of his main rivals for a striking berth were left out, with Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente omitted along with the injured Diego Costa.
Del Bosque was quick to point out that the World Cup door is not closed to any player, but Torres knows that he now has a great chance this week to steal a march on his rivals.
"This list is for the game against Bolivia. We need to take advantage this week, enjoy it and hopefully we can be in the final list. It is a big step to be here but in football, until things are done and dusted, anything can happen," said Torres, who insists he is not concerned about the amount of competition he has for a place in Spain's forward line.
"There's always been a lot of competition here since the 2008 European Championships: (Fernando) Morientes, Raul, (David) Villa, (Roberto) Soldado, Negredo, now Costa...The level is very high, but we're not rivals, we're team-mates and whoever is chosen to play has the support of everyone," he said.
Torres links up with his national team on the back of what has been a mixed season for Chelsea.
The Blues have enjoyed plenty of success over the last decade but suffered a rare barren year in 2013/14 under returning coach Jose Mourinho, although they did finish third in the Premier League and reach the semi-finals of the Champions League.
"It's been a strange year overall, one of transition at the club," said Torres, who scored 11 times for Chelsea last season.
"We've been close in everything but in the end we've not managed to get anything after several years of winning titles.
"On a personal level, it's been the same. But to be here (with Spain) is a great prize.
"I've played less minutes than in other seasons and, maybe, that could be good to be better physically. I feel very good.
"I'm happy and looking forward to getting started."