Following Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg on Wednesday night, one person rang a radio show in Spain - per Spanish football writer Lee Roden - and asked if Fernando Torres had “entered a black hole and gone back to 2007”.
At least it would explain how, after five dreadful years following his move away from Liverpool in January 2011, Torres has unexpectedly rediscovered his best form.
The Spanish striker wasn’t at his absolute best against Pep Guardiola’s side, but carried out an important job upfront alongside Antoine Griezmann and was unlucky not to score with a shot that rebounded back off the post.
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Rio Ferdinand came up against Torres on several occasions when the Spaniard was in his pomp, during his days in the Premier League with Liverpool.
The former Manchester United defender, speaking on BT Sport on Wednesday night, explained why Torres is back to his best - and why he flopped so badly at Chelsea.
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Ferdinand: Here's why Torres flopped at Chelsea
“It's his kind of football,” Ferdinand was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. “He needed to play counter-attack football. Gerrard at Liverpool used to get the ball. First thought, one touch, in behind the centre halves he was playing against.
“He went to Chelsea and they played ball-retention football. It didn't suit him. His hold-up play isn't his strength. He hasn't got a great touch. He's more comfortable running on to things. He didn't get that opportunity at Chelsea. That's why he was probably a failure there.”
Torres was a flop at Chelsea
There’s no “probably” about it. Torres did flop at Chelsea.
The Blues smashed the British transfer record to sign the former Liverpool superstar and, in return for their £50 million investment, received 20 Premier League goals in 110 appearances.
Torres had his moments - including, famously, his goal at the Camp Nou against Guardiola’s Barcelona in the 2012 Champions League semi-finals - and walked away with winners’ medals for the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League but, overall, he was a huge disappointment.
Torres is playing well again - and it's great to see
Now 32, Torres is enjoying his football once again and cut a delighted figure following that superb 1-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.
"We continue to fight, and this team is at a level that very few teams have reached," the striker was quoted as saying by Marca. "Now, we need to be proud and stand our ground [in the second leg].
"It was a fantastic night, and I'm happy for all Atleticos," he said. "We've got the lead we wanted."
Is Fernando Torres back to his best? Have your say by leaving a comment below.