When a top class player goes badly out of form, the old saying “form is temporary, class is permanent” is almost always the excuse. So, is it becoming a cliche? In my very honest opinion, no. Time and time again do the best players of the world prove the statement correct.
In the 2009/2010 season, Wayne Rooney scored mountains of goals and was an ever present figure on the Manchester United team sheet. He was the danger man, the player that the opposition felt they had to shut down. He seemed to thrive and enjoy the challenge imposed on him that was to provide United’s most prosperous route to goal following the exits of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo. Rooney finished the season as United’s top scorer with 34 goals in all competitions, but was just clipped to the Premier League Golden Boot by Chelsea’s Didier Drogba. However, towards the end of the season, Rooney was hampered by an ankle injury that carried all the way into the World Cup, in which he failed to score and England were knocked out by Germany in the second round. Perhaps this dip in form extends back to his ankle injury never properly healing and it carried into the 2010/2011 season. It was clear that he was out of sorts at this point, and did not blame his ankle injury for being dropped. Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed in October 2010 that Rooney wanted to quit the club, because United are no longer able to attract the world’s best. However, he did a dramatic U-turn on his stance and signed a new 5 year contract with the Red Devils. This seemed to kick Rooney back into life a bit, and towards the end of the season Rooney was back in great form and hit the historic penalty at Blackburn to clinch United the title.
It is perhaps fair to say that Rooney is one of the world’s best, and he only recently went into a period of poor form. However, he turned it all around, silenced the critics and finished the season well. Now, it is obvious Fernando Torres is making little impact with Chelsea – the stats say it all; 1 goal in 18 appearances for Chelsea is not acceptable for a player of his standards.
Fernando Torres is an outstanding forward who possesses finesse as well as pace and power. He has fine goalscoring records for both Atletico Madrid and Liverpool. At just 19 years of age, he was named captain of Atletico, and he was the fastest player in Liverpool history to reach 50 goals. In 2008, he scored the winning goal in the Euro final against Germany and placed 3rd in the Ballon d’Or vote, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Fast forward to the 2010/2011 season, he did ok with Liverpool – he scored 9 goals in 23 appearances in the league. However a transfer saga erupted, linking repeatedly with Chelsea and cast a shadow over his future. Inevitably, Chelsea had a 50 million pound bid accepted by Liverpool and he signed for The Blues on 28 January 2011. Changing clubs mid-way through a season is always difficult and it proved so again. Chelsea play a totally different system to Liverpool and understandably he had trouble fitting in alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka. They did not seem to complement each other. Torres’ first goal for Chelsea came against West Ham on 23 April, which ended a run of 903 minutes of football without a goal. However, with a full pre-season without disruption, Torres can get fit and ready for the new term and a chance to develop a partnership with Didier Drogba and an understanding with Frank Lampard.
I am confident Torres can turn things around soon. If Rooney can do it, why can’t Torres? He certainly has the technical ability to do so, but will have to work extremely hard with the squad to really fit in. I believe he’ll have a good season and challenge for the Golden Boot… And I’m not even a Chelsea fan!
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