Little over three months ago, Fernando Torres looked a spent force as a Chelsea player. Cosigned to a position on the bench despite his astronomical price tag, his future appeared far from certain.
When he was given the opportunity to prove his worth, every lung-busting run was treated like a goal following a year of almost aimless wandering around the Stamford Bridge turf.
It was a far cry from the acclaim that greeted the Spanish striker during his halcyon days at Anfield, where his potency in front of goal afforded him a position among the finest players in the world.
Torres' unerring ability to destroy the Chelsea defence during his time as a Red prompted Roman Abramovich to invest £50 million in the Spain international, but he has never seriously threatened to repay the British record fee.
Such was his lack of form in the Blue of Chelsea, during which he endured a goal-drought of five months, a place in Spain's squad for Euro 2012 was from from a guarantee.
Buoyed by Torres' late season showings, Vicente Del Bosque named the 28-year-old among his final 23 to travel to Poland and Ukraine, and this faith may yet prove pivotal in a career that looked in increasing danger.
Although unable to claim a regular staring berth in Del Bosque's all-conquering side, Torres played for La Roja with a verve and intent unheralded for some time, scoring three times on his way to an unexpected Golden Boot.
Last season, Torres often received praise from then Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas for his team-work - stating the Blues could feel the benefit of Torres in the side, even if he was unable to score.
'He needs to be more selfish,' was the advice directed towards the lank-haired forward but, selfish or not, there was no disguising the fact Torres could hardly finish his own dinner.
There is however evidence of Torres being less charitable when in possession of the ball within shooting distance, which comes as no great surprise given the fact Xavi & Co would have already passed the defence to submission before providing the killer ball to the striker.
Spain's midfield conductors have the ability to make any striker appear reasonably talented given their wonderful precision, and Torres has clearly benefited from an extended period with his international teammates.
The acid test for the former Atletico Madrid captain will begin at the start of the new season, where he could find himself as first choice at Chelsea after a long period of uncertainty.
Where Xavi stands for Spain, see Juan Mata at Chelsea, and Eden Hazard will take the role of Andres Iniesta, both tasked with providing the chances for their seemingly resurgent striker.
Responsibility in the absence of Didier Drogba can inspire Torres to finally make an impact of note as a Chelsea player, but further failure will surely prompt Abramovich to consider his options come January.
But there is the sense that Torres with vim, vigour and, more importantly, confidence restored once more can reclaim his position among Europe's elite next term, and not before time.
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