If there was hope that new Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez would be able to inspire Fernando Torres to reach new heights, all hope is lost after the former Liverpool manager conceded that Torres has already peaked.
The comments come after Benitez was questioned about the form of the Spanish forward and his role at Chelsea.
According to Goal.com, Benitez admitted to reporters that Torres' career-best form came during his time at Anfield, adding that he believes Chelsea's No. 9 will never surpass this form.
The interim manager—who recently replaced Roberto Di Matteo at the helm—suggested that confidence was the key to inspiring Torres to find the back of the net more often, saying:
It [Torres' form] is not the same now as when he was at his maximum, but I think he can come back
How close? I don't know. It depends on the rest of the team. I think he can improve, but the team has to help him.
The first thing is to give him some confidence; give him instructions of what he can do in a different way to improve himself and the rest of the team a little bit physically.
Whilst Fernando Torres and Rafa Benitez were together at Liverpool, the striker was touted as one of the most prolific in the English Premier League.
Torres netted 72 times in 116 appearances (in all competitions) with Benitez at the helm. In addition and during this time, Torres was named in the Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year for two consecutive years.
El Niño's transfer to Chelsea came following the departure of Benitez at Liverpool.
It is fair to say that even during his final months at Liverpool—when Rafa was no longer around—he never really hit top form ever again. His statistics during his time at Stamford Bridge are a shadow of his former self, scoring 19 times in 88 appearances for Chelsea.
The 28-year-old will most likely start for Chelsea against Fulham this weekend in their clash at home. It is clear Benitez will give Torres every chance to find his Liverpool self at Chelsea, but there will come a time—if Fernando doesn't fire—when enough is enough.
Despite his extended poor run of form though, I wouldn't put it past Benitez to kick Torres back into gear. If he is able to do that, Chelsea's firepower upfront will be one of—if not the—best in all of Europe.
Does Benitez have what it takes to "find" Fernando Torres?