Torres Thanks Rafa & Gerrard

The man who scored the winning goal for Spain in last week's Euro 2008 final, Fernando Torres, has said that Rafael Benitez and Steven Gerrard have helped him become a European champion.

Torres enjoyed an outstanding first season at Liverpool, scoring 33 goals, and was a star in Spain's thrilling European Championship success.

He he cites pressure on him from Benitez and the inspiring example set by Gerrard as key factors in his memorable year.

Torres claims the insistent demand from compatriot Benitez to improve his game helped drive him to new peaks following his move from Atletico Madrid a year ago.

"After you score 20, Benitez is at you during the next training session and stays on top of you all day, all week," Torres told Champions magazine.

"I want to progress in life, not relax, not be complacent, and you need someone close to you telling you to keep at it. It is impossible to do it otherwise.

"We don't always fancy someone that close but, in the long term, I am sure that everybody will thank him for it."

And Torres also acknowledged the impact that Gerrard has had on him. The Spain star has been particularly impressed by the way Gerrard handles the pressures of being a high-profile player.

"He's always under tremendous pressure to perform and everyone looks to him to show leadership, to lift the team," Torres said.

"He's a great example, and those of us who have been in a similar situation know how difficult it is to handle.

"It's incredible the way he carries himself regardless of what is going on around him. I'd love to be captain of another team one day and Steve has shown me how to be a great leader."

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