Will the real Fernando please stand up?

Love him or hate him , you cannot ignore him.  Fernando Torres is much like ‘Eminem’ , himself , constantly  in the limelight .  ‘El Nino’ as he is fondly nicknamed (The Kid) is regarded as one of the finest strikers  of this generation but  has seen a downward spiral for a while now. His form has led to the large footballing community to believe that  he has become an expensive flop. 

Is Fernando Torres  a flop? Is all the criticism justified ? This article will help put things into perspective .

Torres has all the attributes of a top-football striker . He has pace ,skill , he’s fantastic in the air , can shoot admirably with both feet  and most importantly he is a match-winner, a game-changer. Every team needs a Torres, someone , who can create something out of nothing. Torres , in my opinion , is the best target man in world football . He is adept at holding the ball up , runs the channels , brings other players into play , battles for every ball . He is a defender’s worst nightmare . 

Fernando Torres’ rise to prominence has not been surprising . I remember very vividly  watching an enthusiastic  17 year old Fernando Torres completely destroy Carles Puyol and Oleguer at the Nou camp and I knew then that a star was born.  Fernando Torres was made captain of Atletico Madrid aged 19 , youngest captain in the history of the club. He handled the responsibility brilliantly at that tender age . It was unreal watching him play with so much maturity . Torres was Atletico Madrid , he single-handedly drove and inspired that team forward .  82 goals in 214 matches , that’s 2.6 goals a game,phenomenal ,to say the least. 

At Atletico , he was the big fish in a small pond.  He was the best player in a rather average squad.At 21 , he had become the most-sought after strikers in the game.  Hence , the critics were skeptical if ‘El Nino’ can make the step-up . Could he eclipse better players in a bigger squad ?

A lucrative move to Liverpool silenced every critic . El Nino scored effortlessly at Liverpool playing alongside Steven Gerrard , Xabi Alonso , Javier Mascherano and Jamie Carragher . He could function well as the sole striker or alongside a mid-fielder  who played in the hole behind him. He scored on his Anfield debut  against Chelsea  , collecting the ball from midfield , skillfully dribbling past the experienced Ben Haim and slotting cooly past Cech. This was just the begining. He scored from almost all positions , headers , solo-efforts , volleys .

At Anfield , a half-fit  Torres gave Ferdinand a run around and scored in a 2-0 win against Manchester United. At Old Trafford , he outplayed Nemanja Vidic , the best defender in the league not once but twice .   During his tenure at Liverpool , El Nino broke several records  .

The fastest player  to score 50 league goals for Liverpool , He broke Ruud Van Nistelrooy’s record for the most number of goals by a foreign player  in a debut season with 24. He scored more goals than Michael Owen in a season , 29 . He eclipsed Jack Balmer’s record of two consecutive hat-tricks at Anfield and Robbie Fowler’s record of the first Liverpool player to score 20 league goals since 1995-96 . He scored 62 goals in 105 Liverpool appearences , 1.65 Goals per game.Statistics seldom lie.

Injuries are a part and parcel of a footballer’s career. Unfortunately , the constant groin and hamstring injuries that have plagued Torres have scuppered his form . His form dipped drastically prior to the World Cup and he barely ruffled any feathers at World cup. After The World Cup , Torres returned a world champion but grew disillusioned of life at Liverpool .  Chelsea came calling , Torres’  head was turned . The real reason for his departure is still unknown.  Did he abandon  the Liverpool ship or Was it the right time for him to take up a new challenge ? Apples and Oranges . As a devout Liverpool , I hold no bitterness towards Nando moving . There is no loyalty left in football anymore . The empirical truth is that footballers will move if they get a good offer.

At  Chelsea , he has shown a few flashes of his brilliance but has remained a largely forlorn figure . The tackle against Swansea meant no malice but it was shocking. That is very unlike Feranando Torres. For a over a year and a half now , Torres has become a pale shadow of the player he used to be. But as Andy Gray said during commentary after that superlative Blackburn goal ..’’You are either born with it or you’re not ‘’

Fernando Torres – the best striker in the world who has gone into hibernation like a frog. To all the Chelsea fans , ‘’Form is temporary , class in permanent’’ .

Mayank  Adhye

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