Much has been written about Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, with the Spain international having to live with a world of abuse from the football community for the last two years. My overwhelming emotion when I look at the Spaniard these days is one of pity. He has lost his pace, confidence and killer instinct, but still has the attributes to play at the highest level. It is now time for both Chelsea and Torres to call for an end to an agonising period at Stamford Bridge for the attacker, and let him return to his homeland.
Let’s not forget who we are talking about; before his misadventures at Chelsea, Fernando Torres was one of the most respected and deadly strikers in world football. With the Spanish national side Torres has won two European Championships and a World Cup, and is his nation’s all-time third top goalscorer currently.
With Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, the forward was at times unplayable, and he was awarded third place in the 2008 Ballon d’Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But, there is no denying that the wheels have come off for Torres since his move to London.
He is not the first big-name forward to underachieve at Chelsea – look at Andriy Shevchenko; widely regarded as one of the most lethal hitmen to grace European football in the modern era, the Ukrainian had a similar experience at Stamford Bridge.
Whether it was the astronomical price tag hanging over his head, the constant media scrutiny or just bad luck, Torres must now draw a line under his time at Chelsea and look to get back to his best elsewhere.
And where better than where it all started, at Atletico Madrid. The Vicente Calderon outfit have come on leaps and bounds since Torres donned their red and white strip; they used to be a mid-table side but in the modern day they are looking almost certain to achieve Champions League qualification for next season.
One player that has been critical in this has been Colombian marksman Radamel Falcao; but the South American looks likely to leave the Spanish capital for Manchester City, PSG or even Chelsea this summer. Torres is the ideal replacement.
Coming into a city and club that he knows, with a manager in Diego Simeone who he has played alongside, means there can be the familiarity that breeds comfort. It was at Atletico that he made a name for himself; it is there that he can re-find the player that was once awarded world acclaim.
In terms of Torres’ time in England, we should remember him in his Liverpool days; devastating pace, scoring from impossible angles and torturing defenders, not his nightmare at Stamford Bridge.