The signing of Ferran Torres for Manchester City from Valencia, which will be made official soon, ends rumors in recent months, linking him to virtually all the big clubs in all the major leagues.
He has received offers from Juventus, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – and has received calls from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United – but City is about to finalize a deal estimated at around 25 million euros plus 12 million euros (£ 10.9 million) in extras.
The time has come for the 20-year-old – a prodigiously talented and extremely fast player – to seek his fortune elsewhere in the world of football.
A bargain for Man City?
Valencia wanted a lot more for the youngster, but he was aware that he could leave for free a year from now – Manchester City got a bargain.
When I met him last week in Valencia, I asked him if he was learning languages.
"Yes, you have always learned languages because you never know where football will take you tomorrow … but most of all, I am learning English, because English is essential wherever you are in the world," he said.
Torres is so highly rated that many at the club thought a new Valencia team could be built around him. But, as always seems to happen in Valencia, politics and finance intervened.
With contract negotiations dragging on, the club decided not to take any chances – and accepted a transfer fee.
Torres maintains loyalty to both the club and his hometown, Foios, about 10 kilometers north of Mestalla's home in Valencia.
Just as he will have no criticism of Foios – "I was raised there, I have all my friends there and the truth is that I feel very much at home there" – nor will he hear a word spoken against the club where he joined the seven years. year old.
He remembers the first time he wore the Valencia kit before he started training as a child.
"I remember putting on my shirt and then going to the bathroom looking almost stunned," he said.
"I was just wearing the shirt and my underwear and just looking at the shirt and saying to myself, 'What am I doing here? How did I get here?' It was a special moment.
"Ultimately, it is the team from my land and the team that gave me everything."
But now Torres knows that the time has come to leave the club that he has supported his whole life.
He said: "As a player, I consider myself ambitious, someone who wants to win, win win and … as time goes by and you feel you are better prepared, so you want to face greater challenges, experience a change of environment Yes , I think I'm ready to do it.
"Inside, I always think I'm the best, and that I want to be the best, and I work to try to be the best. If you don't believe you're the best, no one will ever believe you. Believe you are."
How did Torres get here?
His skill and speed were obvious to everyone from the moment he joined the club as a boy.
He made his way between the ranks and, just like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had done before him, he spent most of his time playing in teams and leagues featuring much larger young people – and almost always at least two years older than him.
"I suffered because of the great physical differences that existed," he said. "I was small compared to some of the people I could see who were fully formed and I struggled to the point of leaving the crying.
"Facing challenges like a 14 or 15 year old boy against strong 17 and 18 year old men was difficult for me. That feeling of not being able to win, of not being able to do what I wanted was something that I was hard to absorb . "
He received news of his inclusion in Valencia's first team when he played for Spain at the 2017 U17 World Cup in India. On December 16 of that year, he became the first person born in the 2000s to play for La Liga, when he debuted in the league against Eibar.
What are your main strengths?
Torres' game is based on scorching speed, excellent close control and unpredictable attack. A modern winger – he can also play inside – he has a big change of pace, is very powerful, firm with the ball at his feet and strong in the air.
Comparisons are already being made with young Cristiano Ronaldo, a player he cites as his main reference, "not only for the way he plays his football, but also for the way he walks away from football". He added: "It is worthy of admiration and I would like to follow in your steps."
He is not yet the final article, but he is as close as possible to someone so young and has been described by the director of recruitment at the Valencia academy, José Gimenez, as "the complete player".
Perhaps your greatest asset is football instinct. "More than a conscious understanding, which I do instinctively," he said. "If you mean understanding, I think so, although I never really think that I know what I'm going to do, but that I just finished at that moment."
How is he off the field?
Torres will be sorely missed in Valencia, not only for the team, but also for the fans who love him as one of them.
"For many fans, you are a reference and they are also spending their time taking a picture with you and that too must be respected, and I spend the time necessary to be with them," he said.
Until recently, Torres still lived with his father in Foios, although he has since bought an apartment in Valencia. The winger recalls a childhood cultivating the soil in his grandfather's orchard, something he now realizes to be another part of his education.
"At the end of the day, those are the little details that we should never miss, because although it has nothing to do directly with football, it has at least helped me to become the kind of person I am," he said.
His closest friends call him Ferri; Torres said of them: "I have above all four friends that I have had my entire life and with whom I do practically everything, and the fact is that we always keep in touch with each other.
"When I do things badly, they tell me, and when I do it well, they are there to congratulate me, but more than anything, I am very grateful to them when they tell me about the things I did wrong."
He is also very fond of his two dogs, an 11-year-old Podenco Andaluz named Minnie and a 12-year-old Czechoslovak Wolfdog named Lluna.
"For me and my sister, they are everything. In fact, we could not live without them. They lived everything with me. Everything we talked about lived with me," he added.
Currently, there is no talk of romance for Torres. The main woman in his life today is his sister Arantxa, six years older.
Torres said: "With my sister, it is true that I am much more open. With her, I express much more what I am thinking at that particular moment. She is my confidant.
"She went through very difficult and complex moments and faced and went through them. She has her own career, her master's degree and that has great merit. She has always been overprotective of me."
"I think the reason for getting along so well with her is because she knows how to stay on the sidelines, so as not to suffocate me, and I know that if I want something, I can go with her."
"She never asks me, but when I have a question about something or any kind of problem, the first person I always go to is her.
"We have a tattoo on our ankles – an anchor – on which are the words 'I refuse to sink'. That's because we go through difficult times together and we always go through them and move on."
I asked him: why is the tattoo in English?
"I don't know," he replied. "I think it looks better in English."