Torres disappointment at Atletico ruling

October 14, 2008

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 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.''

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.