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Ferran Torres tests positive for COVID-19 hours after Barca unveil

New signing Ferran Torres will have to wait to make his Barcelona debut after the Spain international tested positive for Covid-19 hours after his unveiling.

Torres, 21, moved to Camp Nou on a five-and-a-half-year contract from Manchester City for an initial fee understood to be £46.7 million ($62.8m), with a further £8.5m in potential add-ons. Barca have set a €1 billion buyout clause into the deal.

The former Valencia forward had hoped to be back in action for the Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Real Madrid on January 12, though his debut could be delayed after the Catalan club announced he had tested positive for Covid-19 along with teammate Pedri. “Pedri and Ferran Torres have tested positive for Covid-19. The players are in good health and are isolated at home,” Barca said in a statement released Monday.

News of Torres’ positive test came hours after he was presented at Camp Nou on Monday morning, where he spoke of having his focus set firmly on taking the La Liga giants back to their former glories. “I am facing this challenge with ambition, humility and a lot of desire,” he said. “When I left Manchester City I had the idea of coming back to LaLiga and Barca showed an interest.

“I am an ambitious player and I like a challenge. I want to take Barca back to where it belongs.” Torres signed for City from Valencia in the summer of 2020 for £20.9m, but spent just 16 months at the Etihad Stadium, scoring 16 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions. The forward had made only seven club appearances this season, after breaking a metatarsal while on international duty during October.

Torres won the Premier League last season and also helped City reach the final of the Champions League. “[City boss Pep] Guardiola is one of the best in the world and he played me in different positions,” Torres told Barcelona’s website. “I have learnt a lot from him at Manchester City and will take many nice memories of my time there.

“I can play across various positions and I will adapt well. I will play in the position that the [Barca] coach says, it does not matter to me which one he asks.” Barca have been beset by financial difficulties in recent months, but were able to fund the Torres deal after securing a bank loan.

Director of football Mateu Alemany is confident there will be no issues in completing the formalities of the transfer.
“The truth of the situation is that when we signed Ferran Torres, we knew we did not have room in terms of salaries,” Alemany said. “However, we have been making moves in different areas and we are convinced we can register him.”

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