Koke thrilled with Torres return to Atletico

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has praised his club's achievement in luring Fernando Torres back "at his peak".

The La Liga champions confirmed on Monday that Torres will return to Atleti on loan from Milan when the transfer window opens on January 5, with Italian forward Alessio Cerci expected to head the other way as part of the deal, although that has not yet been verified.

Torres will return to the Vicente Calderon - where he made his professional debut in 2001 - as a shadow of the player that left La Liga for Liverpool in 2007, according to many pundits, but Koke does not agree.

"It is very exciting for us to have Torres back," the midfielder said, according to the Daily Mail.

"This is still a player that can be one of the best strikers in the world when he is playing regularly.

"This is not a player we are signing at 35 or 36 - at 30 he is still at his peak - and Europe knows that when he is playing at his best that he is unstoppable."

Torres left Atleti with 82 goals in 214 league games to his name, while the Spaniard was also a success at Anfield, hitting the back of the net 65 times in 102 Premier League matches for Liverpool.

The Madrid-born forward did not win a trophy in three-and-a-half seasons with Liverpool, however, and joined Chelsea in January 2011 hoping to fill that void.

While Torres would pick up UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League and FA Cup winners' medals with Chelsea, he never settled at Stamford Bridge and was widely lambasted for his woes in front of goal - managing just 20 goals in 110 Premier League games.

Since joining Milan on a two-year loan deal at the end of August - which was made a permanent move last week - Torres has only played 10 Serie A matches, starting seven and scoring one goal.

Despite evidence of the former speedster's decline, Koke is convinced Torres can help Atletico defend their Spanish league title in the second half of the campaign.

Diego Simeone's Atleti sit third with 35 points, four adrift of leaders Real Madrid, while second-placed Barcelona have 38.

"We want to defend our La Liga title," Koke said.

"Real Madrid and Barcelona are playing well, but it is our dream to retain it - and we have to believe that is possible.

"It is signing players like Fernando that have won the World Cup and Champions League - that will go a long way to helping us achieve that goal."