Torres goal against Barcelona could mark a turning point in his Chelsea career

The date is 29th of June 2008, the venue the Ernst Happel stadium, Vienna. Clean through on goal Fernando Torres does what everyone in the stadium expects him to – dink the ball delicately passed Jens Lehmann and into the net. As the Spaniard celebrates scoring the winning goal for Spain in the Euro 2008 final against Germany, his elated expression tells the story.

At 24 Torres had seemingly fulfilled his early promise, in the eyes of many Spaniards the natural successor to Raul – then widely considered the best player Spain had ever produced.

Fast forward three years and three months, the venue this time Old Trafford. Torres, once again clean through on goal, rounds David de Gea, only to slip and fumble his shot wide of an open net from six yards. Again his expression tells the story, though this time a rather different one.

Despite scoring earlier in that match, the headlines that followed predictably announced the demise of the once prolific forward. “Fernando Torres’s greatest days may be confined to memory” read the Guardian. “Torres is sinking into his own private hell…” screamed the Daily Mail. This, to add to his 1000 minute goalless streak after signing for Chelsea from Liverpool in January 2011 signalled a decline that arguably began at the 2010 World Cup, and from which there appeared to be no recovery.

Yet too often football is a sport with a short memory, in which immediacy is valued over patience and the old adage “you’re only as good as your last game” reigns among the most oft-quoted clich

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