El Niño Spits The Dummy
Chelsea’s Champions of Europe party continued long into the week, with a dent in the trophy always a distinctive mark of a memorable celebration. But it was the figurative dent that was of far greater concern, brought about by the post-match comments of Fernando ‘Worth Every Penny’ Torres.
With his first Champions League medal draped around his neck, the blazing blue of Chelsea on his back and his taste buds enjoying the wondrous cocktail of sweat victory and ridiculously expensive champagne, Torres began firing verbal bullets at the very people that had just provided him with the greatest prize in club football.
“It’s contradictory because I feel like I’m at a peak moment in my career… but I’ve had to spend the final on the bench. There was huge disappointment when I saw the starting lineup, maybe the biggest disappointment of my life,” Torres said. “This season I felt things I had never felt. I felt they have treated me in a way I was not expecting; not in the manner for which the club brought me here. We have had many conversations and, now the season has finished, we will have more talks… this is not the role for which I came. I’m not happy.”
Now back up the truck there Fernando. The peak of your career? Even the most casual football observer has been able to see that, with the exception of Mark Zuckerberg, no one’s stocks have managed to sink quite so quickly as yours.
That little rant could well go down as one of the most ungrateful, sour-grape laced whingefests of all time, especially when you consider it came from a member of the winning team who actually played over 35 minutes of the final. It is clear these comments were made by a man so preoccupied with riding the Ferris Wheel in Torres-land that he is completely incapable of assessing his own form.
There was something in the air that night, his ego shone bright, Fernando.
He was standing there not for you or me or the blue of Chelsea, just Fernando.
And that little prima donna whinge, I hope you regret.
You were carried to glory by your friends, football’s Ringo, Fernando.
To get those not familiar with the trials and tribulations of Torres up to speed (something he no longer has) – he was, at one time, one of the most destructive forces in world football. He used to bang in the goals for Liverpool with such regularity his song would ring out around Anfield almost as often as ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ “He gets the ball and he scores again” the catchy number stated and its assessment was barely a victim of hyperbole.
But back in the summer of 2010, Fernando Torres completely lost his mojo in front of goal and without a fat bastard to blame (Rafa Benetiz had been moved on), no one was sure exactly what the problem was. The dip in form was put down by many as the result of knee surgery that Torres underwent and never completely recovered from which stripped him of the blistering pace that had been central to his success.
Others hypothesized that he had suffered a bad case of Ian Baker-Finchitis which, for no explainable reason other than mental disintegration, typically renders its sufferers literally unable to play the sport they once excelled at.
A very ‘special’ few (okay, so maybe only me) believed that Torres goal scoring ability was derived from some kind of Samson-esque power, and that it was the cutting of his trademark blonde mane that had transformed him from a goal machine into a striker who’d be lucky to finish a sentence.
But it appeared Chelsea football club subscribed to the first theory and felt that given time, Torres’ knee would heal and he would no doubt return to his level of former glories. They were so sure of this, they shelled out a British record 50 million pounds to acquire his services. To put that into perspective; that is about 5 Thierry Henrys, 33 Tim Cahills or 0.625 Cristiano Ronaldos, depending on how you look at it.
So Torres arrived in England’s capital amidst 50 million quids worth of fanfare and with expectations higher than Joey Barton’s testosterone levels. Quite predictably (at least if you bothered watching the World Cup and season that followed it), Torres struggled to make an impact. Perhaps this was forgotten when he said “they treated me in a way I didn’t expect”, as I imagine Torres played in a way Chelsea didn’t expect.
To put it another way, Roman Abramovich paid Liverpool top dollar for what he thought was a classic Porsche that was only in need of a tune-up. But his new ride quickly revealed itself to be little more than a spluttering and clunking lemon. What’s worse, the entire world was watching as he drove it off the lot. These comments must have felt like somebody had relived themselves in his petrol tank.
With the Euros around the corner, it will be interesting if Torres spends more time on the pitch or on the pine. Despite David Villa being ruled through injury, the excellent form of Soldado and Llorente may reduce Torres’ role to that of a bit part player. It is highly unlikely Torres will be airing his dirty laundry of disappointment publicly regarding the national team set up, as without the £50 million insurance policy, his speaking out will simply mean he is not picked again. But at least it is certain to be great weather at this year’s Euros, as even if clouds form over the skies of Poland and Ukraine, the sun is sure to shine brightly out of the ring piece of a certain Spaniard who has an unperturbed belief in his own ability.