Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

The ironic Chelsea career of Fernando Torres

Telegraph Sport: where the debate really gets started

Fernando Torres, left, could have easily been sent off for his first spat with Jan Vertonghen, right
Fernando Torres, left, could have easily been sent off for his first spat with Jan Vertonghen, right

Irony or bizarre coincidence? Ask any Chelsea fan to identify the times they have seen Fernando Torres at his very best, and chances are they'll point to a match against Swansea two years ago and last weekend's encounter with Spurs.

In both those games the Spaniard looked like the Torres we know from his days in the red of Liverpool, before Roman Abramovich turned him into a £50m vanity toy.

And yet both times he was shown the red card.

It's as if the man has acquired a self-destruct button since his move to Chelsea in January 2011 – which is still the most expensive purchase ever by a British club.

There is little doubt that Torres will look back on his time at Stamford Bridge with few fond memories, yet – irony again – it coincided with, technically, the most successful spell of his career.

Thanks to Chelsea, he is a Champions League winner – an honour he joined Liverpool hoping to achieve.

He also won the Golden Boot as Spain retained the European Championship last year – although even Torres found that laughable as two of his three goals came in the easy rout of the Republic of Ireland and the other in the final against Italy when the match was already well won.

A final Torres irony; the man once known as El Niño ('The Kid') believes that, even at 29, he can learn a lot from the Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

As Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen found out to his cost on Saturday, a lesson in face-gouging may already have taken place.

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