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Icons Legend of the Week: Fernando Torres

by Al 27. September 2012 12:37

Does any player quite capture what makes the Premier League the most enthralling league in the world quite like Fernando Torres?  In a season when he scored fewer goals than ever before, hounded by the press for his loss of form, the Chelsea sharpshooter won more silverware than he’d ever dreamed of collecting in a single campaign. Where in Spain the likes of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are left to run riot through defences with seldom interruption, Torres’ career has been filled the same sort of drama and spectacle that makes the Premier League what it is.

Since his £50 million transfer from Merseyside, the former Liverpool striker has been painted as unpredictable and worse still, unreliable. But the truth is that even factoring in the difficult transition period he endured, Torres is one of the league’s all-time most consistent performers. His 74 goals since arriving at Liverpool in 2007 make him one of the deadliest finishers to have graced English football. But it’s the quality – not quantity – of those goals that has made him the icon he is today.

His influence on the pitch goes beyond goals, too. Opta statistics show with Torres on the pitch, Roberto Di Matteo’s Champions League winners are a more progressive team, playing a greater percentage of balls forward. His combination of strength and speed open up many avenues for the Blues that are often unnoticed. Whether holding the ball up or linking with the equally excellent Juan Mata on Chelsea’s flank, more astute commentators have observed that though – as the newspapers are so keen to point out – Torres’ strike rate has fallen, his all-round play has actually improved in his time at Stamford Bridge.

Last season, he managed 12 assists and a further six secondary assists. This season his quiet rejuvenation as a more complete player has continued and though the incredible price tag he fetched in January 2011 continues to weigh heavily on his shoulders Torres has been in influential form. “Still not an automatic first team choice!” shout the tabloids in sensational fashion – but who in squad filled with as much as talent as Chelsea’s (added to this summer with the acquisition of the mercurial Eden Hazard), at a club time-renowned for their rotation policy, would be an automatic choice?

For all the analysis and statistics the football world likes to obsess over, some players are just special, plain and simple. Torres is one of those – he has this magnetism for special moments. Which is why it was him the ball broke to as the clock ran down on Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona. Why at Euro 2008 it was his goal that claimed Spain their first tournament triumph in decades of trying. Why despite a rather subdued Euro 2012 he claimed three goals to take home the Golden Boot.

On Saturday Torres is probable to lineup for Chelsea against Arsenal at the Emirates in a match of great importance, even at this early stage in the season. In a turbulent week for the Stamford Bridge club – the media circus around John Terry in full swing as the FA investigation into alleged racism concluded the defender should miss four games and pay a £220,000 fine – the focus will be off Torres in the run up to the game. But as soon as he steps onto the pitch, you can bet it’ll be all eyes on El Niño again.

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Champions League 2011/2012: Group Stage Preview

by Al 12. September 2011 11:12

The UEFA Champions League group stage gets underway this week. Read on for Icons preview of the four English team's groups, as well as Barcelona and Real Madrid's. Will Barca reclaim their title? We can't wait to find out!

Barcelona – Group H – AC Milan, BATE Borisov, Viktoria Plzen

Holders Barcelona kick off their Champions League defence against reigning Serie A champions AC Milan in the standout fixture of the group stages. No side has achieved back to back Champions League wins since Milan in 1990, but this year Barcelona are huge favourites to replicate that feat.

Seven-times Champions League winners Milan have outstanding European pedigree, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic making a return to his old club, the battle for top spot in Group H promises to be an interesting one.

Two minnows make up the rest of the group. Serbia striker Mateja Kezman, formerly of Chelsea, is the biggest name on the books at BATE Borisov, whose home ground holds just 4,500. The Belarusian side reached the group stage in 2008/09, but this is completely unknown territory for Viktoria Plzen. The Czechs saw off Rosenborg and FC Copenhagen in qualifying, however, and could push BATE for 3rd-place Europa League qualification.

 

Manchester United – Group C – Benfica, Basel, Otelul Galati

Sir Alex Ferguson will have been pleased with this draw. With key players David Luiz and Fabio Coentrao recently departed to Chelsea and Real Madrid respectively, Benfica are not as strong as in recent seasons. Paraguayan striker Oscar Cardozo remains a threat for the Portuguese runners-up, but a rampant Manchester United, with 18 goals in their last four games and Wayne Rooney in irrepressible form, will be confident of overpowering them.

United new boys Ashley Young and Phil Jones will be making their Champions League bows, but Sir Alex's new look young team still has enough experience in its ranks to ensure that the transition is easy.

Swiss Champions Basel are the group's pot three representative, and unknown Romanians Otelul Galati make their debut appearance in the competition having won their first Romanian title last season.

 

Real Madrid – Group D – Lyon, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb

Jose Mourinho was brought to the Bernabeu to overhaul Barcelona both domestically and in Europe. It's a tough ask, but Real Madrid's group draw shouldn't give him too much to worry about.

Although the summer passed without a marquee signing, Real Madrid have the resources to win this group without too much difficulty. Lyon have proved a testing opponent in the past, but depsite being unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season, they may not prove as dangerous as they once were. Eredivisie champions Ajax are capable of playing attractive football and, like Lyon, they will fancy their chances of finishing second in the group. Dinamo Zagreb - the club from which Spurs' Luka Modric and ex-Arsenal man Eduardo da Silva emerged - will be hostile hosts in Croatia, but they would do well to threaten the top two.

 

Chelsea – Group E – Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen, KCR Genk

In Group E Michael Ballack will make a return to Stamford Bridge with Bayer Leverkusen. Chelsea, who have won seven out of nine Champions League openers, will be hoping Fernando Torres can continue to build on his improved form this season, despite being dropped for their game against Sunderland at the weekend.

Unai Emery's Valencia will be their toughest opponent. The Spaniards have started strongly this term, taking six points from their opening two La Liga games. Their biggest threat is former Getafe striker Roberto Soldado, who scored 24 goals in his first season with Valencia. He has notched four in two games this time around, including an opening day hat-trick against Racing Santander. Juan Mata, meanwhile, will be returning to the Mestalla just weeks after departing for West London. Belgian side Genk are the fourth side in the group, meaning Chelsea have avoided any long distance away trips.

 

Manchester City – Group A – Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Napoli

With four wins from four in the Premier League and a debut Champions League campaign in the offing; these are exciting times for Manchester City. What's more, with six goals for his new club already, £38m signing Sergio Aguero has taken no time at all to settle in. As newcomers to the Champions League, however, they were placed in pot three for the draw, meaning a tricky group was always on the cards.

2009/2010 runners-up Bayern Munich have started the season under new manager Jupp Heynckes in unstoppable form, and their 7-0 demolition of Freiburg at the weekend made it four wins in a row for them too. Towering striker Mario Gomez has smashed an incredible seven goals in his last two games.

Villarreal and Napoli are the other teams in Group A, meaning there will be no easy games for City. For Spanish side Villarreal, former Manchester United striker Guiseppe Rossi continues to attract interest from Europe's top clubs with his excellent scoring record. Napoli's main threat, meanwhile, is Uruguay striker Edison Cavani.

 

Arsenal – Group F – Marseille, Olympiakos, Borussia Dortmund

For all the negativity that currently surrounds Arsenal, it should be noted that this is their 14th year in a row in the Champions League group stage. Only Real Madrid and Manchester United boast better records.

Group F provides some tricky away games for Arsenal's young squad, but with new signings Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker adding some experience and know-how, the Gunners will be confident of progressing to the knock-out stages.

Arsenal travel to Bundesliga champions Dortmund for their first game, where 19-year-old German prodigy Mario Goetze pulls the strings in midfield, and Neven Subotic and Mads Hummels keep it tight at the back. Didier Deschamps' Marseille will be another difficult away test. The Velodrome is renowned as one of Europe's most intimidating grounds, but as a connoisseur of French football, Arsene Wenger will be aware of the threat posed by L'OM. Greek champions Olympiakos, despite being drawn in pot three, are the weakest team in Group F.

Icons - always first with the new superstars

by Dan 28. July 2011 07:00
We predicted that Sergio Aguero was going to be one of the biggest names in world football when we did a signing with him way back in April 2010. Icons, as ever, was first, undertaking signings with the best players in the world.

We did Lionel Messi when he was 18 before he'd play 30 times for Barcelona...

...we did Cristiano Ronaldo when he was 20 and had just arrived from Portugal...

..and we did the first signing with Fernando Torres as soon as he arrived in England.

As each of these players has grown into a global superstar they've regularly signed with Icons, partly out of a sense of loyalty to a company that showed faith in them from an early age.

As for Sergio and his arrival in England, probably the best parallel we can draw is with his predecessor at Atletico, Fernando Torres. Before El Nino arrived, he was well-known in Spanish football but not that well-known in world terms. Within a year or so he was biggest Premier League shirt seller in the world. Aguero has the package to do the same: he plays the beautiful game in his own unique way - think Zola, mixed with Dalglish and a hint of Romario - and with his movie-star looks, Japanese nickname and Diego Maradona as a father-in-law, he is going to be a sensation over here.

We have Argentina and Atletico shirts and photos as well as Nike boots which can be framed with a Manchester City background for any fan of the Citizens. Sign up to the icons newsletter too as we're sure to make an announcement of his first UK signing soon.

Icons, signed by the world's best, spotted early by the world's best signed football site.

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The Great Icons Summer Sale 2011: Viva España!

by Finbarr 11. July 2011 11:47

 

Not only is it a great time to be a fan of Spanish football, it's also bloody hard not to be. Having spent the best part of fifty years as perennial bottlers, the national side have established themselves as the best in the world, patenting their thrilling, incomparable brand of tiki-taka, to the delight of all and sundry.

The emergence of La Furia Roja has coincided with the dominance of Barcelona, who many commentators have described as the "greatest team ever." So taken with what they've seen emanating from the Iberian Peninsula, the English media have demanded that the FA do everything in their power to emulate what the Spanish have done at a grassroots level, but whether we'll ever see Englishman grace a field with such elegance is questionable. 

We at Icons have championed the Spanish game and the finest purveyors of it for many years. Given the current zeitgeist for Spanish memorabilia, we thought there would be no better way to kick off The Great Icons Summer Sale by slashing prices on some of our favourite pieces from some of our favourite Spanish or Spanish based players.

There can be little doubting the fact that La Liga plays host to the best players in the world. For the past four seasons, the top three players of the FIFA World Player of the Year either ply or have plied their trade in the Spanish top flight. Last year, the top three were all based in La Liga, a statistic reflected in the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or results. 

We're delighted to present discounted goods from many of those featured. We've got some beautiful, signed action photos of 2008's World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo (many going at half price) playing for Real Madrid.

From last year's Ballon D'Or runner up, Andres Iniesta, we've got a signed picture of his thrilling last minute winner for Barcelona against Chelsea in the Champions League a few years back (again, 50% off).

From the 2007 World Player of the Year Kaká, we have a fantastic signed and numbered Real Madrid shirt and signed boots. Alongside Kaká, Sergio 'Kun' Aguero has also established himself as one of the best foreign imports to La Liga and we've got a range of his shirts and goodies to give away at a big discount. 

But the Spanish revolution of the past five years isn't just about individual awards. Lest we forget, this is one of the only sides in history to win successive major international tournaments.

To mark their dominance, we've assembled a range of cut-price merchandise from some of the stars of their all-conquering squad, including a Real Madrid shirt signed by Iker Casillas, an amazing signed photo of Cesc Fabregas lifting the World Cup, signed photos of Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina in their pomp for both Spain and Liverpool and their erstwhile Merseyside teammate Fernando Torres, also in his Liverpool heyday. 

We'll be running the sale for a number of weeks, with a new theme every seven days. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Spainophile, then, this is your chance to pick up some great stuff at a fraction of the retail price. 

Fernando Torres: Chelsea's £50m man signs again for Icons

by Dan 14. March 2011 11:46
Icons have been doing signings with Fernando Torres, the Spanish superstar, ever since he arrived in England in 2007. While at Liverpool he was a firm favourite with the fans and especially with Icons' customers all around the world.

Following his January move to Chelsea our relationship with him has continued and on Thursday March 10th, Icons were proud to carry out the world's first ever Fernando Torres Chelsea signing session. Check out the full range here.

As with all the great players, form is temporary and class is permanent. We know El Nino is going to be a massive hit at Chelsea so Chelsea fans get your Chelsea signed shirts, boots and photos now before they sell out.

And for Liverpool fans don't worry, sign up to the Icons newsletter to be the first to hear news of your new talismanic number 9, Luis Suarez, signing for Icons very soon.

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Fernando Torres, best selling icon, to stay at Liverpool

by Dan 4. August 2010 04:34

Great news from Anfield yesterday that Fernando Torres had publically declared his intention to stay at Liverpool. In his own words, "I feel the fans love me and everyone knows I am really happy here and really happy to play at Anfield. I'm looking forward to starting the season."

 

At icons, we love Fernando Torres too. Fernando Torres signed Liverpool shirt is the best selling product on icons.com, and it was revealed by the Premier League yesterday that Liverpool shirts with his name on the back is the best selling shirt in the world. We know he appeals not just to fans of Liverpool but to all true football fans across the globe who constantly ask us about his products.

Not only is Torres probably the most exciting player in the Premier League, off the pitch, he is always fantastic to deal with in person as well. A true icon of the game.

Sign up for the icons email newsletter to the first to know when our next signing with the World Cup winning legend will be. Hopefully we'll have more good news very soon. 

FIFA World Player of the Year 2009 - Messi leads the nominations

by Dan 30. October 2009 04:08

The nominations for the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year came out this morning and icons.com stars feature prominently. Lionel Messi would be are choice for the award, having helped Barcelona to win La Liga, El Copa del Rey and the Champions League whilst also leading Argentina to the World Cup finals, just.

The full list of 23 nominations is as follows, featuring seven icons.com players.

Michael Ballack (Germany), Chelsea

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy), Juventus

Iker Casillas (Spain), Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Real Madrid

Diego (Brazil), Juventus

Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Chelsea

Michael Essien (Ghana), Chelsea

Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Inter Milan

Steven Gerrard (England), Liverpool

Thierry Henry (France), Barcelona

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden), Barcelona

Andres Iniesta (Spain), Barcelona

Kaka (Brazil), Real Madrid

Frank Lampard (England), Chelsea

Luis Fabiano (Brazil), Sevilla

Lionel Messi (Argentina), Barcelona

Carles Puyol (Spain), Barcelona

Franck Ribery (France), Bayern Munich

Wayne Rooney (England), Manchester United

John Terry (England), Chelsea

Fernando Torres (Spain), Liverpool

David Villa (Spain), Valencia

Xavi (Spain), Barcelona

Icons.com 2009-10 brochure launched

by Dan 28. October 2009 11:56

We're proud to launch the brand new 2009-10 icons.com brochure. The aim is to showcase all the major players we have signed memorabilia products for and to re-emphaize that icons.com is the leading suppliers of signed football merchandise in the world.

Check out the full brochure here

Cover

Torres page

Kaka page

Signings page

If you would us to send you one in the post or a low-res version by email let us know at icons.com

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About Icons Memorabilia

Welcome to the icons blog, we'll be regularly posting here about what's going on with our star signings and what new products have arrived

We love what we do so we'll also be talking about what's going on in the world of football and sport in general.

We'd really appreciate your feedback and comments too.

Cheers - The icons.com team.

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