Torres to start for Atletico vs. rival Real Madrid in Copa del Rey

Fernando Torres will make his Atletico Madrid return in their starting line-up against Real Madrid on Wednesday, Diego Simeone 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 to La Liga.

It will be in the Copa del Rey, however, that Torres makes his comeback for the club he captained in his youth as Atletico take on Carlo Ancelotti’s reigning cup champions in the last 16 first leg on home soil.

"Tomorrow Torres will start," Simeone, who pushed for the Spain international’s signing personally, told reporters on Tuesday. "His footballing qualities are what we need. He has fit in well. I’m happy with his arrival."

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," the Argentine coach added. "They’re a huge rival with a great coach. We will try to make a great game – not with words, but with deeds."

Atletico have a huge nine days coming up: after they host Real Madrid on 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.

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