Chelsea’s Fernando Torres left off Spanish national squad for friendly match
From Agence France-Presse today comes more bad news for Fernando Torres.
The Chelsea striker, who has failed to score a goal in his last 24 (!) outings with the English Premier League side, has been left off his country’s national team for a friendly match against Venezuela. It’s a development that comes shortly after the decision to leave him off of Chelsea’s Champions League squad.
(Spain manager Vicente) Del Bosque admitted the striker’s return of just four goals in all competitions this season left him little choice but to exclude him.
“Torres is not doing well, and we’ve considered it appropriate that in this case he won’t come,” he told reporters at the Spanish football federation’s headquarters.
“It pains me to leave out Fernando, but I can’t be unfair and stop those who are pushing to get in.”
It boggles the mind to wonder what’s happened to El Nino
. After being transferred to Chelsea in January 2011 for a 50-million-pound fee that made him at the time the fourth most expensive footballer in history, he has struggled mightily with the Blues. He scored his first goal for Chelsea in April 2011, in a 3-0 victory over West Ham United.
That goal ended a scoreless 903-minute spell for the Spanish “striker.”
And this season has been no less dire. His last league goal came in September, in a 3-1 defeat against Manchester United, and he scored two more goals in a Champions League game against Genk for a grand total of four total goals in all competition this season.
And that’s to say nothing of a subpar performance in the 2010 World Cup, especially disappointing since he scored the winning goal for Spain in its Euro 2008 victory over Germany.
So what’s happened to Torres? Former Chelsea favourite Frank Leboeuf thinks he’s the victim of great expectations.
He told the Daily Star
last September that today’s soccer fans tend to make stars out of players who’ve played well for six months. That has led to certain players being called stars when they haven’t earned it yet.
And that, of course, is not an issue exclusive to football. Tim Tebow of the Denver Broncos made for an inspiring story last year, proving that a player can still succeed despite seemingly insurmountable odds… including subpar talent.
And now New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin may be facing the same hype.
Yes, he’s played excellently in its first few games, but a month of play does not a great player make. The way people are talking about Lin now, according him epithets such as “Linsanity,” you would think he was on his way to becoming the next Michael Jordan.
Far-fetched as it seems, Torres could find his way out of the woods yet. There’s no certainty that Didier Drogba will re-sign with Chelsea for next season, so perhaps clearing space on the roster to give Torres more room to succeed.
But to be honest I’m just grasping at straws when I say that. I can’t predict he’ll pull out of his funk, because right now we don’t know whether his dry spell is really just that, or whether it’s more reflective of his natural playing ability.
Spain’s squad for the Venezuela friendly is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), José Manuel Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Valencia), Andoni Iraola, Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao)
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Thiago Alcantara (Barcelona), Santiago Cazorla (Malaga).
Forwards: Juan Mata (Chelsea), David Silva (Manchester City), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao), Roberto Soldado (Valencia).