“Somewhere in London, there’s a 29 year-old boy who can’t stop asking for chances. He’s looking for them, he’s finding them and he’s having them taken away from him. It’s an ode to hope, in its purest form.
The rough patches, the struggles, and each and every one one of the difficult situations he’s been through have all been very well-documented. Since his arrival to Chelsea, Fernando Torres has engaged in many hard-fought battles with himself and his closest environment. When he signed for the London club in early 2011, he’d just recovered from a potentially career-ending knee injury and two complicated surgeries, and had overcome a year full of predicaments and disillusions. Considering that he once was the main man of Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool, his more than problematic first season at Chelsea came as a surprise. One could say that his career at Stamford Bridge has so far been the complete antithesis of his past experiences. And not only that, but he’s been subjected to an appalling amount of cruel jokes, ridicule and humiliation, by the English and Spanish media alike and Chelsea’s own supporters. He hasn’t quite found himself yet, he hasn’t found himself in the team, and the team doesn’t seem too bothered or too preoccupied with finding him either. This, perhaps, could be a case of poetic justice. He might he paying the price for having touched the sky way too early, for having won everything under the sun before turning 29.
It’s not all bad news though. Statistics are there, after all, to give them a look once in a while and put them into the right context and use them to draw the appropriate conclusions. In a team where he isn’t by any means a guaranteed starter, he’s scored 20 goals this season and has become the first player to have ever scored in seven different competitions in a single season. He’s also scored more goals than the likes of Benzema, Higuaín, Agüero, or Rooney, and is alongside Negredo, Soldado and Michu (all of them indisputable starters in their respective teams), the Spanish striker with most goals.
Having won such titles as the World Cup, two European Cups (scoring in both finals and winning the Golden Boot in one of them), the Champions League and The FA Cup, the constant debate regarding his abilities and his condition of being “overrated” has become incredibly tiresome and tedious. I’d say he is quite underrated, in fact. While, yes, he is not the same Fernando Torres who conquered Anfield, El Vicente Calderón and Vienna, the way he has been so viciously scrutinized and criticized is largely unfair. We shouldn’t forget the amount of chances that have been taken away from him or the ones that weren’t given to him at all, both at Chelsea and in the Spanish National Team.
Some years ago, during his early Atlético days, Kiko Navárez gave him his captain armband as a present, and told him “Here, kid, I’m giving you this armband as a gift for scoring your first goal for Atleti. I’m sure that much sooner than later, you’ll be wearing it full-time”. And he did become captain and wore it full-time, and not only that, but he also became the symbol and the emblem of the institution itself, and carried the team solely on his shoulders through one of the club’s worst periods in recent times.
At this point, it’s clear that El Niño must have lived more lives than a cat. Despite being proclaimed dead time and time again, he’s always found a way to come back, through hard work, persistence and sacrifice. We could condemn him for many things, but not for his faith. There he is, still.” – Imanol Echegaray García, Spanish journalist (x).