Chelsea have arrived in Japan for the Club World Cup -- a tournament Fernando Torres is taking seriously and a place that means a lot to him since it's the birthplace of the animated series Captain Tsubasa. The series was about a young footballer named Tsubasa Oozora, who ran around with dead-eyed intensity and executed fantastical moves while leading his teams to glory. It inspired some of the world's greatest players in recent memory like Alessandro Del Piero, Zinedine Zidane and Leo Messi and Torres says it did the same for him.
'I remember when I was a kid, we couldn't find the signal really well on TV, but everyone in school was talking about this cartoon about football, from Japan,' he explained.
'It was a series called Oliver y Benji in Spain, and in Japan it was Captain Tsubasa, and these two young players started as youth team players, got into the national team, won the World Cup, and moved to Barcelona and Bayern Munich, then moved to Europe, so it was like a dream.
'I started playing football because of this, and because my brother forced me, and I loved the cartoon. I wanted to be Oliver, because he played out on the field and Benji was the goalkeeper. That was the first contact I had with Japan.'
I love how, in the middle of praising Captain Tsubasa, he casually mentions that his brother forcing him to play football also had a part in him becoming the World Cup, Champions League and Euro 2012 Golden Boot winner that he is. Maybe Rafa Benitez knows that to get the most out of Torres, you must ply him with Japanese cartoons and bully him into playing.