Fernando Torres: 6 Reasons the Chelsea Striker Is Set for a Stellar Season
The twice European Football Championship winner (2008, 2012), World Cup winner (2010), Champions League winner (2012) and Euro Golden Boot winner (2012) has endured something of a mixed time since Roman Abramovich splashed out £50 million to bring the star striker to Stamford Bridge from Anfield.
13 goals from 69 games for the Pensioners is not what the Russian Oligarch was expecting when he paid a club-record sum for the striker, so as we head into the 2012-13 season, Torres still has it all to prove despite his incredible history over the last four years.
Here I look at the main reasons why this season will be a memorable one for Torres, and as a result Chelsea FC.
Will Torres capture the eyes of fans and stand tall when others around him have wilted?
Will he have the strength of character to lead his team to Premiership and Champions League glory when all else had failed?
And will he just be brilliant?
Read on for the reasons why Torres is set for a stellar season with Chelsea, and be sure to leave who you think will impress this term in the comments below.
Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata; Versatile and Creative Midfielders
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Chelsea's newest signing, Eden Hazard, was easily the standout performer during the Blues routine 2-0 victory over Wigan on the opening day of the Premier League season.
The Belgian international's vision, pace, passing ability and quickness of thought really marked him out as a true talent in an already talented Chelsea lineup.
And as a result of Hazard's indefinite inclusion in the team going forward, the one player to reap the benefits will be none other than Fernando Torres.
For too long have Chelsea played without creativity in midfield. Juan Mata was brought in to rectify that somewhat last season. But the additions of Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin during the summer have really given the Blues a creative edge not seen at the club in decades.
With the likes of these four players playing in behind Torres as creative foils to the Spaniard's intelligent runs, Chelsea will now create so many chances that the striker can only reap the benefits.
That is not to mention the likes of Raul Meireles, Frank Lampard and Ramires in central midfield who will each create his own assists from deeper roles.
With players like these at his back Torres can only benefit.
Roberto Di Matteo's Faith
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images
Roberto Di Matteo has shown the type of faith needed to bring Torres back from the edge of obscurity that his previous two managers did not.
On many occasions both Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas-Boas, now at Paris St Germain and Tottenham Hotspur respectively, left Torres out of the starting lineup completely.
Coming to the club in January 2011 for £50 million, Torres needed some tender loving care from Ancelotti while being gently guided into the team. Instead the former Chelsea manager threw the under-pressure and under-fire striker right into the firing line, and as a result his poor form got even worse.
The following summer was meant to bring change with a new manager. But with Villas-Boas trying to inflict his philosophy upon a Chelsea team reluctant and resistant to change, Torres' form once again dipped.
The Portuguese had become involved with petty in-fighting with the likes of Lampard and Ashley Cole, and as a result the wrong team selections were chosen in crucial games.
The end result was Torres either finding himself on the bench or on a team bereft of star players and confidence.
Not so under Roberto Di Matteo.
This season has seen the ex-Italian international manager dispense with the likes of Didier Drogba and Romelu Lukaku while naming Torres as his preferred lone striker.
With such faith and guaranteed game time, Torres' game can only prosper.
Fernado Torres' Hunger for Success
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
At club level, 2012 was one of the most successful of Fernando Torres' 13-year career, and he only played a bit part.
The fact that he was not an automatic choice during Chelsea's dramatic Champions League win over Bayern Munich or their easy FA Cup win over Liverpool rankles highly with the striker, and this season he wants to repeat that success while at the helm of the team.
Speaking to The Sun the striker was blatantly and brutally honest about last season and his aims for this one.
He said; “The season was not for me, it was for others."
“Chelsea wins the FA Cup but I don’t play the semifinal nor the final. I didn’t taste anything."
“I feel I participated a bit more in the Champions League but even so it was not the Champions League I wanted to win, not like that."
"I want to win another Champions League and in a different way.”
In other words, last season's medals mean little to the player because of the way he won them and this year he wants to win them while playing a major part in doing so.
Torres Wants to Repay Chelsea's Fans for Their Support
Scott Heavey/Getty Images
While Liverpool's fans called Torres a Judas for leaving despite the club deciding to sell him, Chelsea's fans took to Torres while he was misfiring and showed an incredible patience and level of support not often seen for multi-million pound players.
In this modern age of much needed instant success, the Blues fans could be lauded as they refused to turn on their striker despite his bad form and lack of goals which — contributed to the team falling out of the top four for the first time in over a decade.
He said: “The fans helped me a lot — and you don’t understand why.
“You come from outside and you have played well in this league and, with the Spanish mentality, the first who should have turned against you are the fans. You are not living up to expectations but they still support you. These people are special.
“At times I was thinking, ‘I will sit here on the bench, I won’t make any noise, I don’t even want to play.’ But they are demanding that you jump on the pitch and play. They lifted my spirits so many times. Not even my team-mates succeeded in doing that in this way.
"Whatever I do from now on will be for the fans.
“That is why I want to win another Champions League. For them.”
Torres Is Excited About This Season
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Last season was a mixed one for Fernando Torres. Dispiriting at club level for long periods despite being so successful, due to a lack of playing time, and so uplifting at international level after winning the European Championships and the competition's top-scorer award.
In winning Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine, Torres is now enshrined in an elite group of Spanish players to have won an unprecedented treble of international trophies—Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012.
The fact that Torres was so influential for Spain in lifting the coveted trophy has helped lift some of the players' gloom from last season. As we enter the 2012-13 season everything has changed and is now so much the better for him.
“I am excited about the season," he told the London Evening Standard. "We have three trophies to win in finals as well as the four we play for every season."
“We are excited about this possibility. We are sure some of them will come, some others will be impossible."
His manager, Di Matteo, has shown faith in the striker by naming him his No. 1 choice. His confidence is almost back at the peak where it belongs after winning the Golden Boot at Euro 2012 and now the club have signed a massive amount of creativity in the likes of Oscar and Hazard.
Torres will be more than ready for this season and he is excited by its very prospect.
“It’s very nice to be back and involved with the training again. It was an amazing season for me last time. It couldn’t have been better—I won the Champions League, European Championships for a second time in a row with Spain and the Golden Boot. It was amazing."
“I’ve had a good break and good time to rest with the family. I am ready to start the new season and I am sure it will be a very nice one as well...”
A happy Torres is a confident Torres, and a confident Torres is a frightening prospect for his opponents.
Form Is Temporary; Class Is Permanent
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Fernando Torres has suffered for too long in the wilderness of "could have been" or "should have been."
This summer marks an important moment in the career of the player because he really is on the verge of becoming just another player who showed world-class talent but who could not sustain those levels.
Between 2002 and 2012, Torres scored double figures each and every season with his worst two seasons in club football being the all-important last two, which are the easiest to remember for fans and pundits alike.
However, when one looks back and analyses the reasons for the striker's poor form, you realise he was playing for a Liverpool team in severe decline and for a Chelsea team going through management upheaval.
Now, and for the first time in almost three seasons, Torres seems a settled player—and you could see that in his few moments of brilliance against Wigan in the opening day of the season.
The green shoots of recovery are there for all to see and all Roberto Di Matteo has to do to reap the benefits of a world-class striker is to provide the platform for him to perform.
If Di Matteo can do this then we will all see that form is temporary while class is permanent.
And with Fernando Torres that class is most definitely permanent.