Why Fernando Torres Isn’t as Good as He Used to Be

This is the trajectory of Fernando Torres’ career up to this point: Wonder kid and growing hero for Atletico Madrid, fantastic striker for Liverpool and then a complete flop at Chelsea, not to mention expensive, that everyone keeps believing he’ll bounce back to his old scoring form under the right conditions.

It isn’t happening. Maybe it’ll never happen. At 28, there’s a very good chance that Torres’ best is a long way up the road behind him; His scoring numbers these days (7 goals in 21 matches for Chelsea this season) have more to do with the chances Eden Hazard and Juan Mata create for him than his actual ability, which is disappointing every time he steps on the pitch.

The common theory isn’t usually about his injuries; it’s about the state of his mind, his confidence. He had some really great moments during the Euro, when he looked dangerous and mobile once again. It didn’t always translate into goals, but you could feel there was something different about Torres. The promise he got from Roman Abramovich to be the team’s starting striker made him flourish, at least for a short while.

Like his team, a promising start turned into a depressing month of November, and too many matches without a goal, not to mention without a win. Torres, the most expensive playing in the history of the Premier League, just can’t find his scoring feet; He barely manages to get a shot off at goal.

Maybe it has to do with bad formations and negative tactics; maybe his former Liverpool manager, a man he scored 72 goals in three seasons for, will find the way to bring him back to track. But maybe he’s fighting a losing battle, and those injuries that hampered his seasons in 2009 and 2010, before he left to Chelsea, are never going to let him bounce back.

What if Liverpool knew Torres’ knees were shot, but decided not to tell him the truth about his status, the only purpose of this being that he would play more, as he was the team’s most important and consistent player then, and the one who’d been single handedly winning matches for them.

During the 2009-2010 season, the beginning of the latest fall for Liverpool, Torres was on fire, scoring 18 goals in 22 league matches. He underwent two knee surgeries in two months, but pushed himself to make it into the Spanish squad for the World Cup, possibly not knowing the dangers of it all. He played in South Africa, but no one was impressed.

When Fernando Torres was on the verge of being sold to Chelsea a few months later, Liverpool medical staff had known for a while that Fernando’s knee was still in a bad shape. The two surgeries he’d gone through and his rushed attempt to recover could prove to be fatal for him. But Liverpool firmly believed that if Chelsea were aware of that, they might not want to buy him anymore.

Torres arrived to Chelsea on the last day of the transfer window with a few minutes to go until midnight. Some said that he didn’t go through a complete medical at Chelsea as the clock was ticking and he had to sign his contract as soon as possible. So, Liverpool didn’t let Chelsea know about his condition, but Chelsea didn’t test him right away either, just concluded from very superficial scans that he was “lack of match fitness”.

Someone on the Liverpool medical staff was rumored to have said When Fernando left Melwood that day we were conscious of the possibility that he might come back, expecting him to fail the medical. Today, the Chelsea medical staff know all about his knee status, a “degenerative” injury, which has been apparent since before he moved from Liverpool, making that deal a fab bit of business according to some.

Is this the truth? Just a theory according to Duncan Castles and Ben Jacobs. But it explains things pretty well. The physical is usually the simpler explanation, especially when it’s so hard knowing what is going on in someone’s head. Maybe Torres never had a chance of impressing, and this was all about making as much as possible off of a injured player.

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