Every self-respecting football fan is well aware of Fernando Torres’ sad decline over the last four years. He went from being a Euro 2008 winning player. And match-winner in that final, to a misfiring shell of his former self. While, I believe we saw a slight resurgence of Torres under Rafa’s brief stewardship, it was nothing to get too excited about. More importantly, he’d show signs of class but that’d quickly disappear.
However since returning ‘home’ to the Vincente Calderon, a new wave of optimism has been borne. His two goals against Real Madrid have largely contributed to this. In his defence, the first goal was an excellent finish. I’m not convinced about the second one, it was more due to a goalkeeping mishap rather than any great technique displayed by Torres. This is important to clarify because he cannot expect to score 8-10 goals based on goalkeeping errors alone.
It’s too early to say he’s back. But little things are already apparent. First, Simeone trusts him and Fernando feels the warmth. Second his first touch is notably better than it has been during the last four years. Again, one is not suggesting he’s back to his best because that’s unlikely to ever happen. But he does seem to be responding to his senior role within the team
At thirty years old Torres is unlikely to ever recover even 80% of his old self. Confidence can usually be built up but this case is quite astonishing. His prime years were supposed to be at Chelsea, he joined at twenty six years old,and instead of flourishing, he sunk. It’s hard to believe his skills just evaporated overnight there. His state of mind obviously contributed to his fall from grace. So it’s hard for me to get carried away with anything he might do over the next few games. Unfortunately Fernando is highly unreliable, I feel he will benefit from playing in an easier league like La Liga but certain things will remain. Notably, his mental fragility will likely persist.