The Silver Lining For Torres

At the risk of jinxing the Spaniard’s recent good fortune, Fernando Torres seems to have turned the corner. For someone who went entire months without scoring, Chelsea’s 50 million man recently scored with just minutes to spare.

You expect your strikers to score, especially if you break the bank for them. And even though it looked like Abramovich was getting used to the egg on his face, you knew deep down Torres could redeem himself.

 

Big things have small beginnings

 

You’d be forgiven for giving up hope though. For months as Torres endured a torrid goal-shy spell, it looked like his stint at Chelsea was all a ploy to make Schevchenko feel good about himself. And while the last person whom this torrid spell could’ve helped was Torres, it just might not be too far-fetched to imagine that it instead did him a world of good.

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Teething Troubles For Torres

Forget the discourses on the virtues of patience; this goalless spell taught Torres something more important. Disappointment. And not the kind you feel when you just miss your favorite show on TV. But the agonizing, gut-wrenching variant you feel when you’re left red-faced at the altar. It takes a real Chelsea player to tell you what truly debilitating disappointment feels like. Frank Lampard and John Terry can. And now Torres, who missed out on the Moscow penalty shootout and the last-gasp Iniesta screamer, can too. The emotional upheaval that comes with the disappointment of spending months in the wilderness can only make him stronger. And heaven knows Chelsea have needed a stiff upper lip through everything they’ve been through.

Torres’ goalless spell also taught him a thing or two about loyalty and belonging. It’s one thing to hear your name being sung off the rooftops when you’re scoring your third goal of the game. It’s an entirely different matter to hear your name in a chorus, when you’re the loneliest man on the planet – sitting among the cobwebs on the bench of rejects. Torres credits this instance as being the happiest of his career. Chelsea, suddenly, wasn’t just another club dotting his career. This was family. It will take the Spaniard and the club an incredible switch in attitudes to part ways now. In a club where few speak his language, Torres found a home.

 

Torres - Miss and Congeniality

 

The Torres Transformation

Torres wasn’t known for being a player’s player. He was a striker, an incredibly good one at that and that was it. Torres wasn’t a Rooney or a Drogba capable of dropping deep and wresting control of the ball in midfield. At Liverpool, he was served his chances on a platter. At Chelsea, he learned he’d have to make his own dinner. Some way along the way, as his dry spell got drier Torres learned to be a more complete player. Dropping deep, assisting others and sacrificing his chances for others, Torres spun his image into the tapestry of Stamford Bridge as a man who put the collective cause before self.

Torres’ inability to find the back of the net also got him support from the unlikeliest of quarters. Coming into a fractious dressing room having to rub shoulders with other stars, couldn’t have been easy. And it wasn’t. Torres was starved for support up-front from a team that didn’t take too kindly to the new kid on the block. Somewhere along the barren months the general mood towards him in the dressing room went from outright hostility to grudging acceptance to quiet sympathy. Today, it’s given way to lusty cheering on. Even Florent Malouda who seemingly made no bones of his disdain for the Spaniardai??i??s arrival, has turned a believer. Itai??i??s hard to see Torres having fit in this dressing room, had he lived up his billing from the very start. He might have been a hit with the crowd, but in a dressing room fraught with player power pitfalls, a star like Torres, whose arrival threatens more established stars, might not have been anyoneai??i??s pick for Mr.Congeniality.

 

Turning his back on the past

 

Turnaround For Torres

But for perhaps the broadest of silver linings for Torres, you need look no further than the clubai??i??s experience with the man flown in specifically to manage the team. Andre Villas-Boasai??i?? reign was turbulent from the start, but he did seem to get along well with the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking players of the club. Juan Mata was one player who deserved his place in the starting line-up, but David Luiz, Jose Bosingwa and Raul Meireles seemed to enjoy the managerai??i??s confidence even when they least deserved it. For a while it seemed like everyoneai??i??s worst fears of rival camps in the dressing room would come out in the open, when David Luiz criticized Frank Lampard for the latterai??i??s stormy relationship with the manager. The fact that Torres seemed to enjoy no special treatment from Villas-Boas, meant that he automatically found himself on the side of the established stars in the cold war that ensued.

When Villas-Boas was sent packing, Torres emerged from the clouds of despair that hung over the dressing room, as one of the big boys. A member of the establishment, a man whoai??i??d thrown his lot with the eventual winners of the power struggle, and as someone whoai??i??d earned the trust of the rest of the Blues. By striking his own path and not allying himself with the manager ai??i?? partly because of his poor form- Torres may have paradoxically cemented his place in the squad.

While a rejuvenated Torres is in Chelseaai??i??s interest, and while the Blues certainly couldai??i??ve done with his return to form a few months earlier, from the perspective of the long term, that torrid run of goalless games might just have helped him. Weai??i??ll never know for sure.

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6 Responses to “Chelsea’s Corner: Why Torres’ Torrid Time Was A Good Thing”

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  1. Ankur says:

    What you actually wanted to say through this blog ?

  2. Shivam says:

    I cant believe the kind of stick he has got over the last year was in any way helping him. but somehow he has evolved into a more complete player, by going out wide and dropping deep at times, like you pointed out. I just hope this recent string of good performances is not another false dawn. The guy deserves to give one “in the face” to all those who have mocked him.

  3. Krishnan says:

    Sanish, Nicely written. I think we Blues too need to take a little bit of credit. I dont remember us criticising Torres even in the worst of times. Having said that Torres did keep the ‘assists’ count always ticking. Now I just hope Roman reads this piece and doesnt sell Torres during the summer transfer window. I , for one, will be hugely disappointed if that happens.

  4. Johnny B says:

    Great write up!

    Torres, please see this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3JUdryT9zI and remind yourself on what you’re capable of.

  5. Ushakanth says:

    Excellent write up! Love the way you write :)