Can new improved Torres make the difference for Spain?

March 25, 2008

Torres in a heap

The great 1970s TV programme ‘Fawlty Towers’ left its mark by being voted Britain’s fifth best sitcom in 2004, and the way Fernando Torres is going he’s bound to leave an indelible print on English football.

‘Fawlty Towers’ only lasted four years, in which a mere 12 episodes were shot. No doubt Liverpool will want the 24-year-old Torres to stick around a little longer, even if he didn’t sparkle at the weekend against Manchester United.

But this is international week, and it’s a good time to consider whether Torres might be the man to lead Spain to long-overdue success at Euro 2008.

As Simon Baskett writes in his preview, Wednesday’s friendly against Italy is the perfect time for Torres to show his country how far he has come since leaving Atletico Madrid for Liverpool last summer.

As a 17-year-old, Torres became the youngest player to take the field in an Atletico shirt, and two years later he became the youngest player to captain the side. As if this wasn’t enough, that season (2003-4) he also made his international debut.

His first year in the Spanish top flight yielded 13 goals from 29 appearances which was an impressive return for an 18/19-year-old, but since then he has added a lot more to his game.

I’m thinking mainly about his willingness to get stuck in, just one of the many hurdles for foreign players to overcome if they want to succeed in the Premiership.

Back in September Torres was having lumps kicked out of him by Reading’s Andre Bikey during a league cup match but responded with a hat-trick rather than a sulk.

Then there are the goals – 27 of them this season.

Greece’s victory in the last European Championship continued a trend that has seen the last four titles going to the team with the greatest collective understanding.

That is in stark contrast to the two previous tournaments - events that are remembered for the genius of Platini in 1984 and the combination of Van Basten and Gullitt in 1988.

So, will this year’s European championships be won by a ‘whole’ team or a squad containing a few talismanic individuals? And with Torres, Fabregas et al, can Spain now claim to stand in the latter camp?

PHOTO: Torres falls to the ground after a tackle by France’s Lilian Thuram during a friendly in Malaga, February 6, 2008. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo

5 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I remember when I was in Spain that torres used to play badly against Real Madrid most of the time, and he was missing again on Sunday (although perhaps poor service was the problem). Many Spain fans fear the worst for Euro 2008. He might score a couple in the early rounds but what will happen when they play a big team in the quarters?

Posted by Kev | Report as abusive

Ok so Torres had a quiet game against Man U..and his record against Real Madrid whilst at Atletico was poor…I think it was 2 goals in 9 games??? something like that…but what you have to remember is that the Atletico Madrid sides he was playing in were poor…average at best, Torres was the main driving force behind Atletico’s return to La Liga and it was his goals that helped keep them away from relegation battles! The goal that he socred at the San Siro vs Inter was outstanding, he made it look like he had all the time in the world…the mark of a great striker.

Spain will win Euro 2008 Torres will be the top scorer.

Posted by Owen | Report as abusive

Sad though it is I can’t see any team at this year’s tournament winning in the style of the French in 1984 or the Dutch in 1988. The one contender would have to be Portugal and Ronaldo, the form player in the world. Spain just never get their act together.
So, can Ronaldo produce his absurd goal-scoring antics for Portugal to help them lift the cup?

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Well good players too have to get their share of criticism. And I feel thats whats happening here. Torres is a very good striker, and one doesn’t have to go back and talk about his record at Atletico. Look at his performance at Liverpool this season. The English side has managed to hang around at the number 4 position, simply because Torres has been around to score goals whenever the team has struggled.
And I feel, this form of Torres will continue when he plays for Spain. And with Fabregas around too, who knows, if they pair well, Spain could be having their hands full on the Euro cup.

Posted by Nachiket | Report as abusive

torres is a wonderful player and i fully agree that he can make valuable contribution to the spanish squad.he is the type of player that every coach would want to have at his disposal.