It is indeed with a heavy heart and a frown upon my face that I write this blog entry. Upon waking up this morning, I was greeted with the news that Chelsea had reignited their interest in my beloved Fernando Torres. Liverpool swiftly issued a statement saying that Torres was not for sale at any price. However, rumours have emerged that Liverpool’s number nine has asked the club’s hierarchy to consider offers from the London club.
The Spaniard’s future came under heavy scrutiny last summer after Liverpool’s dismal 09/10 campaign, but a mooted move away from L4 failed to materialise and Torres committed to another season at Anfield. I personally felt at the time that the intense speculation and conjecture surrounding his future had been exacerbated by the media, and was immensely pleased when he reiterated his love for and commitment to the club.
There are several reasons why Torres has endeared himself so emphatically to the club’s supporters. His signing in the summer of 2007 was a huge signal of intent, and marked the first time since Michael Owen’s early ‘00s peak that the side had a genuinely world-class striker within their ranks.
The former Rojiblanco man took to the English game like to the duck water, an assertion ably supported by his absolutely phenomenal goalscoring record. At the time of writing, Torres has scored 81 goals in 141 appearances for Liverpool, managing to break a frankly ridiculous range of club records along the way.
The Spaniard has been important off the pitch too. For the last two seasons, Torres was the most popular surname printed on replica shirts worldwide. The fresh-faced 26-year-old is an extremely marketable man, a fact confirmed by former manager Rafael Benitez, who once said:
“”He’s a nice boy and the fans love him. He is a good representative for the club and a good example for many people.
“Women (in Asia) go crazy for him. Thanks to him Liverpool has become much bigger in Asia. He’s the cornerstone for our sponsor.”
What I love most about Torres though, is how refreshingly loyal he is when compared to the plethora of Premier League mercenaries and primadonnas. Despite growing up roughly 1,300 miles away from Anfield, Torres appears to love and ‘get’ the club just as much as the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.
He has immersed himself in the life and culture of the city and club, and spoke of how proud he would be if his children speak “English and Scouse”. His tribute to those who lost their lives at Hillsborough in 1989 after scoring against Blackburn in April 2009, and his ‘we’ve won it five times’ hand gesture to the crowd after scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the same season are also indicative of his love for and understanding of the club.
As an avid and passionate supporter of the club since the age of seven, I have seen my fair share of heroes exit the club. Indeed, I vividly remember crying my eyes out when Steve McManaman left for Real Madrid, and coming very close to doing so again when Gerard Houllier sold God to Leeds United (a sale that still irks me to this day). The sale of Xabi Alonso in the summer of 2009 is probably the most recent transfer that managed to evoke similar sentiments.
However, such sadness would be trumped and then some if the boy from Fuenlabrada decides to part ways with the club.
Please don’t go Fernando.
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