Fernando Jose Torres Sanz (that’s Fernando Torres to you and I) looked like a world beater when Liverpool signed him in 2007. Adored by Reds fans worldwide, he notched up an impressive 65 goals in 102 appearances and had EPL defenders shaking in their boots.
Fast forward 4 years and Torres has become the donkey of the English premier league. An $80 million investment by Roman Abramovich in January 2011 sent shockwaves through Merseyside as their beloved talisman opted to move south to Chelsea after months of transfer speculation. Shirts were burned outside Liverpool’s Melwood training ground and posters were torn from walls. Now it seems Liverpool fans have had the last laugh.
Torres has managed a meager 2 goals in 24 games for Chelsea, hardly the ratio of a player once thought of as the best striker in world football. A repayment so far of $40 million per goal has surely left Roman Abramovich wondering what he has to do in order to find a worthy replacement for the ageing Didier Drogba.
Sunday 18th August saw a late kick off with Chelsea visiting Old Trafford, a ground where Torres had frequently embarrassed Nemanja Vidic whilst wearing the red of Liverpool. With no Vidic in sight due to a calf injury, Torres looked lively and sharp, dispelling talk of confidence issues. Even at 3-0 down, Torres showed a flash of brilliance that reminded us all of his ability in front of goal, expertly flicking the ball over David De Gea in the opening minutes of the second half to breathe life into Chelsea’s performance.
What followed was something unimaginable.
After being put clean through, Torres again showed excellent footwork to round De Gea and was faced with the most simple of tap ins. But soccer can be a cruel sport and there’s nowhere to hide when you’re faced with the deafening jeers of 75,000 Manchester United fans. A moment’s lapse in concentration saw Torres slice his shot into the Stretford End and with it went any hope of a Chelsea fight back.
Now believe it or not, misses such as these are usually reserved for the most high profile players. I remember Ryan Giggs lofting over an empty net for Manchester United in the 2003 FA cup against Arsenal, and even former Liverpool great Ronnie Rosenthal famously struck the crossbar with only turf ahead of him in a match against Aston Villa in 1992.
One thing for sure is that Torres is still young enough to get his career back on track, but to do that he needs time on the pitch. After Sunday’s faux pas I’m not convinced he’ll get the opportunity, especially since the school kids worldwide have already coined the phrase “doing a Torres”.