Fernando Torres: Where Did It All Go Wrong for the Chelsea Striker?

Ryan Bailey@ryanjaybaileyFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2012

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 17: Fernando Torres of Chelsea looks dejected with Daniel Sturridge after the 2nd West Brom goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Chelsea at The Hawthorns on November 17, 2012 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

As the owner of a fleet of super-yachts and numerous aircraft, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is used to writing eye-watering checks for superfluous purchases. The £50 million check he wrote out for Fernando Torres in the transfer window of January 2011, however, is surely one that brings tears to the Russian billionaire's eyes.

Prior to his arrival in London, Torres had all the hallmarks of a player destined to become a Chelsea legend.

As a precocious child in Madrid, the Spaniard scored 55 goals in a season to earn a place in Atletico Madrid's youth system. He ended up scoring 82 goals for Los Rojiblancos––captaining the side at just 19 years old––before Rafa Benitez swooped in and brought him to Liverpool.

On Merseyside, El Nino showed his world class potential by breaking numerous club scoring records, such as his feat of becoming the fastest man to reach 50 goals in a Liverpool shirt (it took 84 appearances).

But as soon as Torres made his record-breaking move to West London, the goals dried up. He didn't score for the Blues in his first 13 appearances, finally breaking his duck in April 2011 after 903 minutes of play.

In 2011-12, his first full season at Chelsea, Torres scored just six goals.

He had scored three times as many for Liverpool in 2009-10.

This season, El Nino's reputation has shown few signs of resuscitation. This past weekend at the Hawthorns, the dejected Spaniard lasted just 62 ineffectual minutes, bringing his current dry spell to 470 minutes.

His role with the current World and Euro champions is also diminishing: Rather than employing their actual number nine, Spain have (successfully) resorted to a 'false 9' formation.

As Chelsea fly out to Turin for their vital Champions League clash with Juventus, the back pages of the English press suggest Roberto Di Matteo's patience has finally worn out. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, are among those suggesting Radamel Falcao's arrival at Stamford Bridge is imminent, and the bleach-blonde striker could be heading back to the Vicente Calderon in exchange.

It is unclear whether Atletico would be prepared to match his £180,000-a-week salary, or whether they would be interested in a former hero in such ruinous form, but one thing is clear: Fernando Torres' spell at Chelsea is reaching its conclusion.

So, where did it all go wrong?

Why can 'Nando only perform when wearing a red jersey?

Torres has had three different managers at the Bridge, so disgruntlement with the coaching staff seems unlikely. Equally, the Spaniard has been employed in a similar one-man-up-front role to the one he thrived in at Liverpool.

With Didier Drogba out of the picture––and a supporting cast with the likes of Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar––Torres should be in the form of his career.

Essentially, Fernando Torres' problem is Fernando Torres.

Since moving to London, his confidence has dissipated. Now, we only see rare flashes of the player who could get himself into goal-scoring positions at the drop of a hat and finish off match-winning chances in high-pressure situations.

To be fair, Torres' form is not completely disastrous on paper.

He has scored seven goals in 19 appearances this season, including the Community Shield. In 2012, he has earned a Champions League, a Euro 2012 trophy and a Euro Golden Boot.

Yet, without confidence in his own abilities and a positive mindset, the 28-year-old will not rediscover the devastating form he displayed at Liverpool.

If pulling on the red shirt of Atletico Madrid is the elixir that can revive the 'Nando of old, the beautiful game will be richer if a January transfer offer comes in.


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