LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Fernando Torres learned lessons from his time as a 16-year-old newcomer at Atletico Madrid to help fellow Spaniards Juan Mata, Oriol Romeu and Cesar Azpilicueta settle in at Chelsea, the striker said on Wednesday.
Torres joined the Stamford Bridge club from Liverpool for a fee of 50 million pounds ($79.24 million) in January 2011.
Midfielders Romeu and Mata signed from Barcelona and Valencia respectively seven months later and full back Azpilicueta left Olympique Marseille for European champions Chelsea in August of this year.
”It is not easy to come somewhere new and have to find your place,“ the 28-year-old Torres told the club’s website (www.chelseafc.com). ”You might feel someone doesn’t like you or you might need to find new friends.
”It’s what I learned when I was 16 and arrived in Atletico’s dressing room, nobody wanted to talk to me because they were threatened. They called me ‘El Nino’ because nobody knew my name.
“I didn’t like it and it shouldn’t be like that but dressing rooms are very complicated with players coming from different parts of the world and with different roles.”
Mata, 24, Romeu, 21, and Azpilicueta, 23, have all credited Torres with helping them settle in at Chelsea.
”I am not the father figure,“ laughed Torres. ”You just have all the things you learned in your head that you can use for the good of the team and that’s what I do here but I don’t like to be a leader, maybe an example as someone to follow if you like.
“We are all young still and friends. I have been playing with Juan in the national team since the Confederations Cup in 2009 and since then we have been friends,” added Torres.
“I was so happy when he came here and we have helped Oriol and now Azpi to settle.”
Torres, though, is less happy about the untidy state of Mata’s locker.
”It’s a mess,“ said the Spain striker. ”There are magazines, letters, pictures, clothes, creams, everything and he cannot open the door.
“If he did it would make an even bigger mess.”
Chelsea fielded four Spaniards in their starting lineup for the first time in the club’s history when Torres, Mata, Romeu and Azpilicueta featured in the 6-0 Capital One (League) Cup victory over second tier Wolverhampton Wanderers in September. ($1 = 0.6310 British pounds) (Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Mark Meadows)