Fernando Torres will make his Atletico Madrid return in their starting line-up against Real Madrid Wednesday in the last 16 first leg of the Copa del Rey, Atletico coach Diego Simeone has confirmed.
The 30-year-old striker returned to the Vicente Calderon on loan this month, with Rojiblancos flop Alessio Cerci taking his place at AC Milan, having left for Liverpool in 2007. An unsuccessful spell at Chelsea followed and he attempted to revive his career at San Siro this season but failed, triggering Atletico to swoop and bring him back.
“Torres will start,” Simeone, who pushed for the Spain international’s signing personally, told reporters.
Real Madrid might have been beaten on Sunday by Valencia – the first time they have not won since Atletico defeated them in La Liga last September – but Simeone thinks the team which eliminated them from the Copa del Rey last year are as big a threat as ever.
“The Blancos are still in fine shape, they come into this match having just won the Club World Cup last month, they’re a huge rival with a great coach. We will try to make a great game not with words, but with deeds,” the Argentine coach added.
Atletico have a huge eight days coming up: after they host Real Madrid Wednesday, they are set for a visit to second-placed Barcelona in La Liga before going to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of their Copa del Rey knockout clash.
Villarreal vs Real Sociedad 19:00
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid 20:00
Almeria vs Getafe 21:00
Valencia vs Espanyol 21:00