So here we go again, another Fernando Torres article. To be honest I’m surprised you even entertained the idea of putting pressure on a button with your index finger in order to make more Fernando Torres debate appear on your screen. So much has been written about the Spaniard’s misfiring capers at Chelsea, the issue has become both massively mundane and obvious. So much so, I might as well have named this article ‘Why the sphere is important to football’. What more is there to say on the issue? No, he hasn’t had a good start to his Chelsea career and yes, he cost Chelsea the equivalent of fifty Nigel Martyns but what does everyone expect to happen from constantly regurgitating this information? Is Roman Abramovich going to leave him in a basket on Kenny Dalglish’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run off? Is Torres going to pick up a copy of The Daily Mail one morning and think; “Of course, it’s so simple, I need to score goals! I’ve been concentrating so heavily on running and breathing, I’ve been forgetting to kick the ball into that rectangular meshy structure.”
Pressure from the media is a given in the day to day life of a Premier League footballer and a player of Fernando Torres’ stature will usually take it in his stride. However, the sheer amount of coverage surrounding his transfer fee will have certainly contributed to the fact that even the mathematically inept like myself can work out how much Chelsea have paid per goal he has contributed in return. It’s a sort of tabloid-cock-block, a term I literally just coined and one that is never more apparent than with the England national team. No matter how good the squad is, and let’s face it, with the players available England should be able to take down anyone in world football bar perhaps Spain (Unless Torres is playing of course! A bit of topical “banter” there for you). Yet England always falter on the big stage and this is in no small part down to the overwhelming pressure from the media. Some would argue that they’re footballers and should be able to deal with it but when turning out for their clubs, the critique in the press is shared amongst the Premier League’s long list of registered players. When turning out for the national side, the focus lies on eleven men plus a few interchangeable substitutes. It seems that even when England win the display will be picked apart with the sort of no-stone-left-unturned approach of Vanessa Feltz taking on a KFC Snack Box.
That’s the sort of pressure that has landed at Fernando Torres’ feet; not the harmless “could do better son” approach of an encouraging father but the “I’m constantly watching you and waiting for you to slip up” sneer of a sort of weird uncle. It’s almost become a nationwide obsession, but where did these concerned masses come from? Sure, he cost 50 million pounds but that isn’t exactly the shocking sum of money it would have been five years ago and Abramovich isn’t exactly struggling to keep the lights on. Even on the footballing side of things Daniel Sturridge is showing real signs of being able to lead the frontline sooner rather than later so it’s not as if Chelsea need to rely on him. More poignantly, Chelsea are one of a very small minority of teams who could ship him back to Atletico Madrid for £10 million and replace him with someone else the next day.
It was when I went to tweet something about Torres being a poor man’s Glen Johnson after the 2-1 win over Chelsea at the weekend that I realised how tired the whole ‘Fernando Torres is rubbish’ thing is. I would even go as far as saying I forgive the guy. I’ll always remember him as being one of the greatest Liverpool players of all time, he simply moved on for whatever reason just like so many before and inevitably will after him. He hadn’t been the real Fernando Torres for a long time before he left Liverpool; instead we had Andriy Veronin in a Torres costume running about for the start of last season. 50 million for a player out of form was great business and Luis Suarez has been a revelation as his replacement. All in all, I see very little to hate him for anymore and when it comes down to it, I still like him. His move to Chelsea may well prove to be a massive mistake but it may not. He may score his 50th goal for the club in a cup final against Liverpool in a couple of years from now, or it will transpire that his golden years were indeed at Liverpool and as he sits on the bench for Racing Santander plotting his next telenovela cameo, he’ll look back with a sense of “that was a shame.” I don’t know, no one does but in the here and now he hasn’t set Stamford Bridge alight, I get it. If we can all just agree that Fernando Torres is Spanish, expensive and not scoring as much as we all thought then we can move on. There are over 250 million football players in the world so let’s talk about something else shall we? (I hear Boreham Wood striker Inih Effiong is looking a bit tasty this season). However, as I type this final sentence I can faintly hear the distant pitter patter of typing as a journalist with five inches of column space to fill has just remembered that Fernando Torres cost 50 million pounds and has only scored 5 goals. Stop the press and shoot me.