Fernando Torres has spoken again! This time, to Spanish paper La Razon, and reported here in the Sun. However, his quotes should be a whole lot less polarising than the last set, released following our triumph in Munich. They paint a picture of a man tortured by his own failures, but they also show a player on his way back from a dark place. For me, it seems like he's like he's got himself in a decent space mentally, and that's a good thing. Anyway, nobody cares what I think. Let's get to the quotes:
"The season was not for me, it was for others.
"Chelsea wins the FA Cup but I don’t play the semi-final nor the final. I didn’t taste anything.
"I feel I participated a bit more in the Champions League but even so it was not the Champions League I wanted to win, not like that. I want to win another Champions League and in a different way."
These are probably the most controversial quotes in the interview, since he appears to be saying, though somewhat-understandably, that Chelsea's FA Cup-Champions League double wasn't special for him because he didn't play a big part in it. Before you launch two-footed into the comments, Man-Bear style, keep reading to see how he clarifies his feelings on the matter.
In a sense, he is disappointed by the fact that he didn't play a big part in Chelsea's big wins last season, but also because he would prefer to win while being the player the fans have wanted him to be. Back to the quotes:
"The fans helped me a lot — and you don’t understand why.
"You come from outside and you have played well in this league and, with the Spanish mentality, the first who should have turned against you are the fans. You are not living up to expectations but they still support you. These people are special.
"At times I was thinking, ‘I will sit here on the bench, I won’t make any noise, I don’t even want to play.’ But they are demanding that you jump on the pitch and play. They lifted my spirits so many times. Not even my team-mates succeeded in doing that in this way. Whatever I do from now on will be for the fans.
"That is why I want to win another Champions League. For them."
This means, you, you guys. As he said, we probably should have given up on him. A lot of you did, and not without good reason, but, by and large, we all still want him to try to be the player we wanted him to be. It's heartening to see that the only thing keeping him from giving up completely has been the fans. It's something I wish we could do with all of our players, like Daniel Sturridge and John Obi Mikel. After all, if love from the fans can make a player want to win us another Champions League, we should be behind every single one of them. In addition to his praise for the fans, he has some words for our
dearly departed manager, Andre Villas-Boas, and his teammates:
"I lived things that had not happened to me before. A new manager came in and he was hardly counting on you and what you did in training didn’t count either.
"You can’t do anything more but you’re not playing. People encourage you whether you play or not but I didn’t know what to do.
"I counted on the support of team-mates that are on the bench, who don’t let themselves sink and always give an example.
"Paulo Ferreira, the substitute keepers, the youngsters whose progression has stopped. It helped me to see the panorama sitting on the last step."
We all knew there was a reason Paulo was still here, though most of us assumed it was a set of compromising photos of Roman, possibly involving a rabbit costume and a rubber chicken. It turns out it's his refusal to let himself get down in the dumps, and his budding bromance with Fernando Torres. [Nobody tell Juan Mata or Sergio Ramos, you guys.] If Fernando ever claws his way back to where we know he should be, we now know where to send the muffin basket.
As for AVB, this is just another in a long line of negative reviews of his approach. If the reports are true, and since they tend to agree on the details, it should be no surprise that his reign ended in disaster, and why so many of our players are or were angry after last season. Given that similar reports have been issuing from White Hart Lane, his time at Spurs might end up having plenty in common with his time at Chelsea.
Speaking of Chelsea, he seems to have made a few observations about the culture of the club which are very interesting:
"You can think ‘Maybe Chelsea was not the team’. But if you are a great player, you have to find your place, I’m not the first one to whom this has happened.
"I think I didn’t know how to be a point of reference there. And that is what I am trying to achieve. I am obliged to succeed in making my team-mates need me. When you arrive at a club like this, what you had done up to that point means nothing.
"It’s not a question of whether they welcomed me or not it’s the fact you are just one more player. It’s not a team or a club where they look at the details — your gestures, how you train, how you behave.
"No, you arrive there and you are one more of the team. You only have to be a star on the pitch.
"They are veterans and they don’t have to give an example. If I arrived now again for the first time, I would do things differently.
"I would try to be one more of the team and adapt to the situation. Now I know that from the first day you have to think of yourself more and try to demonstrate to your team-mates that you are one more of them. I was paying attention more to what was my place rather than worrying about earning a place."
As I said in the intro, he seems to have gone a long way towards figuring himself out and getting his head in the right place again. This set of quotes also lends credence to the idea that his biggest problem is that he's been lost in his own head. The fact that he's both admitted his problem, and understands what he's been doing wrong suggests that he's going into the season with a much better attitude. His goal in the Community Shield, tiny sample that it is, shows this. For 18 months, he's played like a man focused on other things, but at Villa Park, he didn't think and just put it in the net. That's what we need to see from him.
In the final set of quotes, he speaks about his Euro 2012 experience with Spain:
"My last objective was the national team but during the months before the Euros I had been left out of the squad once.
"Suddenly I get minutes on the pitch and I take advantage, there are rotations in the team because of so many competitions, so I score and I get in the squad for the Euros.
"I felt like a small child. And maybe it would have been normal if I hadn’t gone with Spain."
He's basically admitting that he wasn't really good enough to be considered for Spain based on his form at Chelsea, but his fortuitous Barcelona-killing goal earned him a place in the squad. That's a good thing for me. It shows that he did, in fact, understand just how bad he was.
All in all, he might not be exactly where he needs to be yet, but if he was ever going to get there, he needed to understand where he was going wrong. This interview seems like confirmation of that. I think we can all feel a little safer with him as our main striker now. There are still mountains left to climb for him, of course, but this was always the biggest one. Obviously, it demonstrates the mental fragility we've long suspected, and that's a definite bad thing. As long as he admits it, though, the club will be able to deal with it properly, and get him where he needs to be. This should definitely be an interesting season on the Fernando Torres front.
[As always, keep it civil, you guys.]