Fernando Torres was once viewed as one of the world’s best, but that has been long forgotten…
They say never go back – never risk spoiling your legacy, always try and go out on top. But as Fernando Torres prepares to return to his boyhood club, so burns the final bridge of his shockingly indifferent footballing career.
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Five years ago, the Spaniard was enjoying his glory days – scoring goals for fun at Liverpool and establishing himself as one of the best strikers of his generation. So where did it all go wrong?
For one, the expectation on him was simply too high. And that’s not his fault, he was just never, ever a player that was worth £50m. For instance, only once has he managed more than 20 goals in a league season for any club.
Torres was treated as a hero at Atletico, but this was an Atletico team before the likes of Diego Costa, Thibaut Courtois and co led them to a first La Liga title in two decades, and within a minute of winning the Champions League.
He enjoyed the best year of his career during the 2007-08 season, in a Liverpool team built around him and Steven Gerrard, but his form, along with Liverpool’s, steadily declined under manager Rafael Benitez, and both men were gone by January 2011.
Just 45 goals in 172 games at Chelsea followed, with only 20 of those in the league. Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo, Jose Mourinho and even his former boss Benitez tried and failed to get the best out of him, and that arguably cost the latter pair their jobs.
By the time Torres joined AC Milan on loan this summer, he looked a man whose love for the game had died. And so, in attempt to rediscover himself, he will return to Madrid, where he will sadly be little more than a fringe player.
He could of course, be a huge success with Diego Simeone’s side, but considering that he’s not been at his best in six years, it seems a tall ask. This will no longer be at Atletico team that he leads a captain, a team fully focused on feeding him chances. This will be a self-sufficient team asking him to do a job, most likely from the bench.
If anyone the world still holds Torres in high esteem, it will be the Atletico fans, and his return risks his legacy at the club. If he fails, he will lose his final supporters in the world of football, and complete a transformation from one of the world’s best strikers, to one of the most overrated.
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