It is the final moments of extra-time of the 2010 World Cup final. Cesc Fabregas passes it to Andres Iniesta. Iniesta receives the pass and volleys it towards Dutch 'keeper Maarten Stekelenburg with his second touch. GOAL! Spain wins the World Cup for the first time ever in their history. Everyone seems to be happy – even the ones who didn’t feature for a single minute.
But there was one particular player whose smile wasn’t as truthful as the others. This particular player wasSpain’s star player in Euro 2008. This particular player wore the number 9 shirt forSpain. This particular player was none other than Fernando Torres.
Hidden pain under the smile
Fernando Torres didn’t have a great World Cup on a personal level. He failed to find the net and was low on confidence. His performances forLiverpoolafter the World Cup were like a bulb’s glow when it’s going through a voltage fluctuation – sometimes bright, sometimes dull.
But just when things started to get better for Torres, he did something unexpected. Something which made him a hate-figure in the eyes ofLiverpool fans who idolised him for years. Something which he may regret once he looks back at his career.
Something exactly like this: he submitted a transfer request and moved to Chelseafor £50m on the deadline day of 2011 January window. A move which not only made him a villain in the red half of Merseyside, but also a lead character in Football-related jokes as he has just scored 3 (THREE!) official goals for Chelsea in 25 appearances.
Why is Torres going through the worst form of his life? Here are some reasons….
Low on confidence….
Injury, below-average World Cup campaign, injury again, abuse from millions ofLiverpoolfans… Fernando Torres has faced them all and this was one of the reasons for his low confidence. While playing under Carlo Ancelotti, it was clearly visible that Fernando Torres wasn’t confident. His movements on and off the ball were very lousy. His will to score and prove his critics wrong weren’t visible.
In his first match under Andre Villas-Boas, he showed some glimpses of his guile on the ball. But those glimpses turned out to be a false dawn as he once again faded in the next few matches. Juan Mata’s arrival is supposed to bring a boost to his confidence – and that is what he has shown so far by scoring 2 goals in his last 2 games.
Pressure of the £50m price tag….
Fourth most expensive player in Football
When a player is bought for an astronomical figure of £50m, which also makes him the 4thmost expensive player in the World, there will be some pressure on him. A big price-tag is never easy to deal with – just ask Kaka (fromMilanto Real Madrid for £56m) or Ibrahimovic (from Inter to Barcelona for £59m). And that may be one of the reasons for Torres’ dismal form because when a player is under pressure, he can’t give his best.
Perhaps Torres should take advice from Cristiano Ronaldo on how to play well with the burden of a huge transfer fees as the Portuguese has been on fire, scoring 91 goals in 93 appearances, since joining Real Madrid from Manchester United for a record £80m.
No support from midfield….
When Fernando Torres said, "Chelsea is, between the English teams, maybe the least English. That's because of the kind of player Chelsea has — an older player, who plays very slow, who has a lot of possession”, he wasn’t entirely wrong. Not at all, in fact.
Fernando Torres is a kind of a striker who works best when he has fast and some creative players around him who can build up attacks fast – that is another reason why Torres’ goal-scoring record for Spain isn’t as astonishing as it should be. The reason behind that is very clear too: Spain play Tiki-taka (possession Football with slow build-up) and Torres isn’t best suited to that.
Juan Mata: Torres' savior
Torres’ best season in terms of goals scored was the 2007-08 season - his first season with Liverpool. At that time, Steven Gerrard was in his prime; Alonso was ever-present with his fantastic distribution of the ball and inch-perfect long-range passes. Liverpool were fast and dynamic and that was when Torres was at his best – scoring goals from left, right and center.
With Chelsea, that wasn’t the case as Chelsea’s midfield, when Torres signed for them, had names like Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Ramires, Yossi Benayoun and Frank Lampard – none of those players were both fast and creative midfielders. But now with the signing of Mata, things can get better for Torres as Mata is fast and a very creative player who could build up an attack very fast – just how Torres likes it.
This might sound bizarre, but Torres’ current downfall might just be because of the curse which Liverpool fans spewed at him when he joinedChelsea. This writer is a bit superstitious and likes to believe in things like these.
The Red Army
Another example which could be used in this case is Michael Owen. Since leavingLiverpool, he has had a less than stellar career and is now warming the bench for Manchester United.
If this is really the reason, which looks likely as of now, then Torres may never again be the striker he once was – and noChelseaor Torres fan would want that.
Fernando Torres may have had scored 2 goals in his last 2 games, but his horrific show after scoring those two goals (open-goal miss against United and sending off for a terrible tackle against Swansea) overshadowed them and he needs to get back on track full-time in oder to be in Spain's and Chelsea' starting XI and not on Football-related jokes.