On paper, Fernando Torres has had an outstanding season, but the truth is he has underperformed for most of it.
He has an FA Cup, a Champions League, a European Championship winners medal and the Euro 2012 Golden Boot trophy.
It is quite a haul for any player, but Torres has done as little as anyone to deserve the medals he has round his neck.
The Chelsea man scored three goals and was level with five others, but took the award ahead of Germany’s Mario Gomez because his trio of strikers and one assist came in less time.
Torres effectively won the accolade because he was not an automatic starter, which seems an odd way to decide on a trophy but there you go.
Gomez scored a winner against semi-finalists Portugal and the two goals that defeated pre-tournament favourites Holland.
Whereas Torres scored two against Republic of Ireland, the worst team in the tournament, and one in the final against Italy, who were down to ten men following an injury to their final substitution, Thiago Motta, four minutes after coming on.
An assist for Juan Mata sealed it in the end but Torres was hardly the rampant striker from a couple of years back, he is currently looking like a shadow of that awesome player.
Many people have predicted that his Euro 2012 triumph will help bring back the old him, the one that would terrify defenders who were forced to face their own goal with him in the vicinity, or leave hesitant as to whether to back off or challenge.
Predictors of Torres’s resurgence are matched equally by those who have resigned themselves to never again seeing the player he was – they may have the right of it.
At 28 years old, the former Atletico Madrid man is not going to get any quicker and this has deprived him of the ability to drive into space behind defences as he once did.
When Torres’ confidence is high, he has the ability to link well with teammates and provide a focus point to play off of with his back to goal, but he was always at his best when facing the goal with the ball at his feet.
He now looks more ponderous doing that and the loss of his burst of pace over short distances, possibly injury-induced, have sapped his confidence terribly.
Out with the confidence goes the assertive style that made him such a goal threat and this in turn has made him look hesitant when confronted with scoring chances.
His goal against Italy in Kyiv was well taken and some will take this as a sign he is regaining former powers, but it is not the first time in recent times that he has appeared regenerated.
The return of Torres could well occur next season now that Didier Drogba has departed Stamford Bridge and he appears to be the main man, but his best form has not been seen in a long time.
Something drastic needs to change if ‘El Nino’ is to return to his former glory and avoid finishing his career as nothing more than a stiff breeze.
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