Fernando Torres jetted to America for Chelsea’s end-of-season tour admitting he has always dreamed of working under Jose Mourinho.
Standard Sport revealed in February that Mourinho would return to his former club this summer and Real Madrid confirmed last night that he is leaving the Bernabeu on June 1.
The fact they have parted by “mutual consent” removes the final barrier for Chelsea as they will not have to pay the Spanish club any compensation for the three years left on his contract.
Torres, who believes he is rediscovering his best form and wants to stay at Chelsea, is thrilled at the prospect of working with Mourinho.
“The chance to work with Mourinho is something every player wants to do at least once in their lives,” he said. “He has been at the club before, some of the players have worked with him and know what kind of manager he is.
“Obviously we are waiting for the news about the new manager.
“Mourinho is one of the best managers in the world and Chelsea are one of the best teams.
“Normally, everyone is linking Mourinho with Chelsea but we will see what happens. I think we have to be ready [for him to come]. I am really looking forward to next season, it’s going to be very exciting.”
Petr Cech, Frank Lampard and captain John Terry all played under Mourinho in his first spell between 2004-07, when Chelsea won five major trophies.
Torres, one of 23 Chelsea players in the US for two exhibition games against Manchester City in St Louis and New York, ended this campaign with 22 goals, his highest tally since joining for a British record £50million from Liverpool in 2011.
The Spain international expects to be even more prolific under Mourinho and added: “I scored more goals than last season and I’m closer to my normal statistics. I’m happy about my end to the season and statistics but I will be asking much more of myself and hopefully next season will be much better.”
Chelsea have been linked with a string of top forwards this summer but Torres could also face competition from Romelu Lukaku, who is ready to return to the Bridge after scoring 17 goals on loan at West Brom. The 20-year-old, who joined Chelsea in a deal worth up to £18m from Anderlecht in 2011, had been unwilling to return until he was assured of first-team football.
He said: “I have to talk with the new manager. Chelsea are still my dream club and I want to be successful there. If the new manager has plans for me, I will go there and take my chance.”
Chelsea finished 14 points behind champions Manchester United but Torres is confident they will provide a stronger challenge next season.
“I don’t think we are far away [from being a title-winning side],” he said. “The Premier League is tough. If you lose a couple of games you’re out of the race. You could see Manchester United were very consistent and even Manchester City couldn’t keep winning games the same way and United won the League two months before the end.
“But we’re good enough to be consistent. We need to learn from what we did badly, it’s a young squad and hopefully the experience of this year can help people for next time.
“We must be happy with the way we ended the season. It wasn’t the way we wanted to do it when we started but during the season you have to adjust the targets and objectives.
“In the past couple of months we worked really hard to secure third place and win the Europa League. We have done both so we must be happy.”
Captain John Terry (ankle) and Ryan Bertrand (knee) have not travelled to the US but Eden Hazard (hamstring) could feature in the first game in St Louis on Thursday or in New York on Saturday.
Mourinho, whose appearance in a Chelsea shirt (above) today triggered rumours that he had been appointed as new manager of the West London club, is widely expected to re-join the Blues, but the image was actually an advertisement to raise the profile of an outdoor digital media sales company.
Daylite LED used the photoshopped image labelled ‘#The2ndComing’ to increase interest in the area, but it will have had Chelsea fans believing that ‘The Special One’ had returned.
Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis today denied he and two club officials met with Rafael Benitez in London last weekend. Benitez, whose role as interim manager ends after the US tour, is believed to be No1 choice to succeed Walter Mazzarri.
De Laurentiis said: “I did not go to London for Benitez.
“Yesterday I was in London with [Andrea] Chiavelli and [Riccardo] Bigon and for a simple reason: I have to prepare for the release of the film on Steve Jobs.
“Everyone is talking about who will be the new coach. But I do not do things in a hurry. I’m trying to understand who are the people who will accompany me in the next part of the journey.”