Spain may have won the World Cup four years ago, but Fernando Torres has not quite been the same since. Vicente del Bosque’s side were actually able to clinch glory in spite of the then Liverpool striker, who was unable to find the net during the tournament.
But two years on and after a barren spell of form for new club Chelsea, Torres remained the central forward of choice for Del Bosque, and this time found the net on two occasions as Spain were able to capture a third successive international crown.
In Brazil in 2014 and Torres is still benefiting from Spain’s past glories rather than his own particular performances of note during the qualifying campaign. Despite their imperious midfielders and depth of options in these positions, Spain have been unable to find a striker able to oust Torres as Del Bosque’s first-choice. That is until now.
In fact, Spain have actually had to call-up a player who is, essentially, not even Spanish, having previously played for Brazil. Diego Costa, of course, is his name, and the country’s public have taken to their adopted son, and now appear to have finally given up on Torres reproducing the goods of old.
A poll conducted by Spanish newspaper Marca asked voters to pick their preferred starting XI to face the Netherlands on Friday, and Costa was the clear favourite to assume the role of solo striker ahead of Torres.
Not a huge surprise, of course, given the 36 club goals Costa scored to a measly 11 from Torres, although there was a modicum of loyalty for the latter given the contributions he has made in the past. But they too will soon condemn El Nino to the annals of Spanish history, and may be led to wonder why they put their faith in him for so long.
Torres ought to get used to being replaced by Costa, with the 25-year-old set to replace him for club as well as country. Chelsea have all but completed the signing of Costa following his exploits for Atletico Madrid.
Chelsea have carried Torres for too long, and have decided to do something about it with the acquisition of Costa. And now it appears that Spain are finally about to do the same.