I hate Fernando Torres… Seriously.
Even in my infancy as a Chelsea fan I’ve been able to transfer some of my New York uncalled for hatred towards a soccer player that has resembled Carl Pavano more so than Wayne Rooney.
When Chelsea decided to pay a ginormous transfer fee to get Torres from Liverpool last January I became skeptical almost immeadiately.
I wondered aloud why did Chelsea need another striker? They had Didier Drogba coming off of a career year, vets like Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda and young guys like Soloman Kalou and Daniel Sturridge coming up.
Paying a kings ransom for an up and down, yet immensely talented player like Torres seemed like overkill. It was like watching the Yankees trading for Alex Rodriguez, we didn’t need him but hey you can’t have too much offense right?
Well once Torres hit Stamford Bridge the offense must have been left behind in Liverpool. To say that Torres has underachieved with the Blues is like saying the Rangers giving Wade Redden $39 million dollars was a slight mistake.
Torres has scores 4 goals in 16 months with of premier league play with Chelsea… 4. Including FA Cup and Champions league action he’s scored 13.
The man who has the highest transfer fee ever has been a disaster on the field. Either Torres has had the worst luck in the world or maybe he really is just a bum.
Ever since his arrival Chelsea dropped from first to third in last year’s EPL table and is currently sixth. To compound things he has been outscored by the man who he replaced and is now a substitute in most matches that being Drogba.
Hell in it’s semifinals match against defending champion Barcelona Drogba scored the only goal to give Chelsea the advantage in aggregate.
So in entering Tuesday’s second match against Barca you had to figure that Drogba would once again outshine Torres and lead Chelsea to an unexpected appearance in the Champion League final.
And then divine intervention took place.
At the 80 minute mark with Barcelona leading 2-1 (and tied in aggregate scoring) manager Roberto Di Matteo subbed out Drogba for Torres in an effort to get some fresh legs on the field for a late push.
With Chelsea on the brink after losing John Terry to a red card and a bad foul taken by Raul Meireles deep in their defense end somehow the ball found Torres with nothing but green grass and Barca goalie Victor Valdes in front of him.
With one quick move and a leap Torres found the back of the net and Chelsea found its way to Abromovich’s much wanted Champions League final.
Ain’t that a trip.
It was easily the greatest and most memorable goal in Torres’s career. In ten seconds Torres took all of the bad karma that he had gathered since coming to Chelsea, all of the disappointment, the underachieving and poor press and buried in victorious fashion leaving the Blues sideline jubilated and Camp Nou stunned.
It was what Abromovich had envisioned when he signed Torres coming to pass. After 16 months of disappointment, sorrow and despair Fernando Torres finally arrived as a member of Chelsea FC and proved he was worth the hefty price paid for his transfer from Liverpool.
Am I exaggerating? Maybe a little. But coming through in the clutch goes a long way for any athlete with his perception and fan base.
Torres was facing pressure to succeed and was viewed as a disappointment by most everyone around the game. By lifting Chelsea to the Champions League final Torres has excersized a lot of those demons and has given himself another chance to prove his worth on a bigger stage.
If Chelsea defeats Bayern Munich in the final in late May we will look back at the Torres goal in Camp Nou as the defining moment in their run.
It was the moment that sprung Chelsea to an elusive title, that makes them one of the premier clubs in all of football and means that £50 million was the proper price to spend on a mercurial forward who had seen better days in his career but finally proved he was worth the money.
I wish I could say the same for Pavano.