The Spanish international completed a two-year loan move to AC Milan, and as he told the press when presented in the fashion capital, he knew his time with the Blues was up the moment Diego Costa arrived, per Get West London's Matt Lewis:
Obviously I could see what the season at Chelsea was going to be. They signed a striker that was expecting to play and I need to have this feeling of being important.
I want to thank my two English clubs, Liverpool for bringing me to the Premier League and Chelsea for the trophies I won.
After all these years, however, I needed a change, something that would give me the desire to play, to feel important.
The loan likely brings an end to his tenure with Chelsea, a three-and-a-half year spell that saw the striker go from one of the world's most coveted strikers to one of the biggest transfer flops in modern football.
Or was he?
It seems absurd to suggest Torres was anything but a bust. As shared by WhoScored.com, his conversion rate wasn't just bad—it was awful:
Fernando Torres: Since joining Chelsea, Torres had the worst conversion rate (9.2%) of any of the 42 players to score 20+ goals in that time8/29/2014, 6:38:19 PM
The drop in production following his transfer was astounding, per Squawka:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Fernando Torres' goals per game ratio in the Premier League: Liverpool: 0.64 GPG (65/102); Chelsea: 0.18 GPG (20/110).8/31/2014, 4:15:08 PM
Like it or not, strikers in today's game will always be judged on goals. It's why Costa is currently the most popular man in west London, and why Torres was so often the target of mockery.
But in those three-and-a-half years, the Blues won the FA Cup, the Europea League and the Champions League, and Torres played a pivotal role in that last tournament. No Chelsea fan will ever forget this moment:
Football is the ultimate team sport, and yet, we decide to judge one of the starters on what he accomplished individually. As far as contributions to the team went, Torres was always solid. He worked hard. He understood the system, did what he was asked and provided plenty of space for his teammates.
There's a reason the Spanish national team trusted him enough to ride him to a win at Euro 2012. Torres never wowed anyone again with his scoring ability after that faithful injury he suffered in 2010, but he transformed himself as a player and became a useful commodity. Not great, but useful.
In Chelsea's free-flowing system, everyone scored. Things will likely change with Costa around, but it's not like Torres looked pale in comparison to his colleagues during his time with the Blues, per WhoScored:
Fernando Torres: Since joining in January 2011, only Frank Lampard (44) had scored more goals for Chelsea (PL, CL + EL) than @Torres (36)8/29/2014, 7:13:23 PM
When the deal with Milan was announced, Vines like this one started popping up left and right:
Football Vines @FootballVines
Fernando Torres left Chelsea https://t.co/RbtdKekND08/29/2014, 7:01:29 PM
That simply isn't true. The majority of Chelsea fans were grateful of Torres, wished him the best in his next venture and acknowledged that for all of his faults, he was a useful player with an excellent mentality.
Yes, this deal is great news for the fans. Gone is the constant mockery from rivaling fans, who wish they had a striker as talented as Costa leading the line. His transfer to the Rossoneri also pushed the Blues under the European and Premier League quota for foreign players, meaning the current squad is free to compete.
He is going to a team that runs a system not too dissimilar to Chelsea's. Torres isn't moving to Milan to be a scorer—they want him to do exactly what he did for the Blues, with the likes of Keisuke Honda and Stephan El Shaarawy handling the scoring duties.
Without the pressure of a lofty price tag and massive expectations, Torres will have every chance to thrive in Italy. He won't score 30 goals in his first season, but he won't have to.
Blues fans stood by Torres for years, and if he shines in Italy (expect him to), they'll be proven right for doing so. For all of the mockery, he was a vital component of a team that won plenty of silverware.
The supporters can look back on a productive period in the club's history with a smile on their faces, knowing that with Costa now leading the charge, the mockery will soon end. There shouldn't be any hard feelings—only gratitude for a player who gave his all for the club.
The loan deal to Milan took his contract off the books, effectively bringing an end to the Torres-era. Fans should be glad it's over, as the future of the club looks incredibly bright. But for all of the scorn and mockery of national media, the Blues faithful are right to express their gratitude for El Nino, and everything he did for the club.
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