by Neil Chhabda
“Golden Bullet”. These were the exact words used by Phil McNulty to describe Fernando Torres after he single-handedly demolished Real Madrid in 2009. In 2010, he was described as “a player capable of reducing the best defenders in the world into rubble.” Fast forward two years and only a few people consider him to be decent, let alone world-class. After his record-breaking £50 million move from Liverpool to Chelsea, there have been very few highs and too many lows. So what went wrong? How could a player who was considered the best striker in the world suffer such a spectacular fall from grace? And is it possible for him to recapture that scintillating form again?
The biggest reason for his fall from grace is his mental state. If the Torres of old missed a chance, he would continue persisting and when an opportunity presented itself, even if it was only half a chance, he would score. He would do all of this in the same game. Nowadays, if Torres misses a chance his body language seriously deteriorates and he just looks a player completely devoid of confidence. If he gets into a scoring position, he looks to play a pass instead of putting the ball into the net. Instead of facing the goal and playing in the centre, he may go out into the wings, try too hard to get involved and end up being counter-productive. In all fairness, his confidence has improved and he does stay in the centre, but he remains a little too impatient and gets frustrated easily.
In recent weeks, under Rafa Benitez, he has looked a completely different figure. His is still hesitant to shoot, but he no longer goes out to the wings, and always plays in the centre. If Benitez can bring back his confidence, there is a very good chance we will see some lethal finishing from Torres. He was one of the fastest players on the planet, but he was also one of the best finishers. He would come alive inside the box, and could score from just about everywhere, even the tightest angles. If he can get some of his truly excruciating misses out of his mind, and play with that confidence again, he will likely be one of the best strikers in the world.
|(source: Daily Telegraph)|
Rafa Benitez will also be the key. Under Benitez at Liverpool, Torres scored 59 goals in 73 games. Under Benitez at Chelsea, Torres has scored 5 goals in 7 games. If there is one man who can bring the best out of Torres, it is Benitez. Torres has always been an intelligent player, but he has to change the way he plays. It will be difficult, but I have full confidence that he will successfully adapt his ability. When he does adapt, he will again claim his place as one of the best players of recent years.