Fernando Torres: 5 Reasons El Nino Is Close to His Very Best This Season
After a few more goal-filled seasons, Torres was on his way to Chelsea for £50 million.
Despite his hefty price tag and even higher expectations, Torres struggled to recall the form that made him so sought-after in the first place.
However, a good end to last season and a great start to this season has given us a glimpse of the old Torres.
But is it the "old" Torres?
The old Torres was good, but maybe—just maybe—this Torres could be better.
Here are five reasons why this could be El Nino's best season ever.
He Is Happy
Torres recently acknowledged just how unhappy he was last season. In an interview with El Pais (via The Guardian) he said:
I had team-mates who didn't care if the team won or lost because they were not playing...I never wanted to be like that. [But] one day I discovered that I was like them, that it didn't matter it we won or lost if I was not playing. I wasn't part of the group. I discovered that I was not happy because I had stopped being what I had always wanted to be. In the dressing room, you can never lose that group concept.
Under Andre Villas-Boas, Torres was becoming an ever more peripheral figure on the Chelsea team.
His struggle to find playing time combined with his lack of goals were taking their toll on his mental attitude.
And it was this attitude that had the greatest effect on his game.
Just from watching him play, you could tell that Torres was not in the right frame of mind. He looked like a man with the cares of the world upon his shoulders.
Having finally settled in, the Spaniard seems infinitely happier, and it shows in the way that he is playing.
He Is Playing
Last season was bad for Fernando Torres.
He didn't play, and he didn't score.
You could argue for hours about whether more games would have meant more goals, or more goals would have meant more games. It's a "chicken and egg" sort of debate.
But what is clear, is that Torres is doing both this season.
Torres is one of only six Chelsea players to have started every EPL game this season. Roberto Di Matteo has placed his faith in the striker, and he has paid him back with goals.
He Is Scoring Goals
The most important difference between this season and last is that Torres is scoring goals.
He has already netted four times in seven EPL appearances. Only two more are needed to surpass his total for 2011-12.
Two goals in any competition will beat his total of 12 in all competitions for Chelsea last season.
Of course, it is not difficult to beat his meager tally of goals from last year. But it is only October, and his total of four puts him comfortably among the EPL top scorers for this season.
It is too early to tell whether Torres will be holding the Golden Boot come May but, if his current form continues, he is sure to be in contention.
He Is Contributing to the Team
Torres himself has indicated that his all-round game has improved since moving to Chelsea.
In that same interview with El Pais (via The Guardian), he said "I can now do things that I was not able to before...[I] worked hard on it."
Before, Torres was expected to score goals, and lots of them. Of course, he is still expected to score goals, only now he has more to give the team besides that.
Take the Blues' win over Nordsjaelland. Torres did not score in that game, yet he had one of his best games this season. He tracked back to win the ball for the all-important first goal, and he played a key part in many of the big moves of the game.
This is perhaps the biggest reason why Torres is set to have his best season to date.
He may not score as many goals as he did before, but he will certainly have a more crucial role to play in whether Chelsea win or lose each match.
There Is No One Else
The last reason why Fernando Torres is close to his best, is that he has to be.
Chelsea's lack of strikers means that the team has to depend on Torres to score goals.
This is the kind of pressure that can make or break a player. Having missed so many games last season, Torres will surely thrive from all of the extra playing time.
If he continues to get good service from the Blues' talented midfield, his world-class finishing will take care of the rest.
If Torres can continue this run of form, he may not be able to reproduce echoes of his time at Liverpool.
No, if he continues this run of form, he will be able to produce something even better: El Nino at his very best.