Fernando Torres, a flop, a disappointment, a complete and utter waste of money, a traitor, a failure. All these words and phrases have been used to describe Fernando Torres since his £50 million transfer from Liverpool to their rivals, Chelsea, in the winter transfer window of 2010. This transfer made him the most expensive in the history of the Premier League and the most expensive Spanish player ever. Since then, Torres is the player that gets booed by his own supporters, overlooked by his own club, criticised by pundits and critics all around the world. He is the striker that did not manage to score a goal in a huge 903 minutes. This Fernando is a far cry from the player we saw in the 2008 European Cup final, the player that Liverpool paid £20 million for in 2007, the player that the fans chanted the name of over and over again. ‘Torres, Torres, Torres!’ He is a ghost of his former self, the player that everyone loved and respected, the player that scored a huge 33 goals in one season and the player the player that was once in the final 3 of the nominees for the FIFA Player of the Year award.
We can talk on hours on end about what had changed, why Fernando Torres’ form dropped so dramatically. Was it his injury? Was it just that his new team have not given him enough time and space to shine? Was it something that had affected Fernando personally? Or was it something bigger than everything, fate? What had caused Fernando’s confidence to disappear so much that he feels so much pressure in front of the goal? These questions lay unanswered. We can guess and speculate all we like but the past is the past and we cannot change it however much we would like to. However, the biggest question of them all is based very much on the future: What will it take for Fernando to start scoring again? I believe that the answer to this question lies in Fernando himself.
In the last few games of this season, we have seen flickers of his old self. His spectacular goal in the Champions League semi-finals against the great FC Barcelona where his acceleration and finishing was absolutely tremendous. The smile on his face after the hat-trick against QPR showed signs of change. However, this was overshadowed by the fact that he was not picked for the final of the Champions League in which Torres himself described as ‘a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest disappointment in my life’ and again when interim manager did not pick Fernando Torres to take a spot kick in the penalty shoot out. However, in the international friendly matches from these last few weeks, Torres played spectacularly, proving to his ever believing and faithful national team manager, Del Bosque that he was right to pick him as part of the 23-man squad for Spain when many others argued that Roberto Soldado, the Valencia striker had had a better season than Torres and deserved to be in the squad.
Despite all this, the most important thing is for Fernando to perform on the big stage, in Ukraine and Poland. Fernando has everything to prove to his critics and his haters wrong. He has everything to get back: the respect from all football fans and pundits, the belief from next season’s yet to be announced Chelsea manger and prove that he is not there just to warm up the bench and he has to show everyone that he is back and better than before. Why am I so sure that he will be able to perform in the Euros? The honest answer is that I am not. But I have hope. I remember the Fernando that scored the winning goal in the same competition 4 years ago and every time I see him play, I remember that moment, not all the moments where he has failed. So, I hope. Because when everything else disappears, hope is all you have left. And so I leave you with a quote from one of my favourite football fan fictions: ‘Form is temporary, Class is pernament’.