Would the real Fernando please stand up...
Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich, Wednesday 7.45pm, BT Sport 1
The Fernando Torres tale looked for an awfully long time like it was going to have a depressingly sad ending. The man who was a hero in Atletico Madrid, and arrived on English shores with 56 goals in his first three Premier League seasons for Liverpool – that’s slightly better than two goals every three games – was a shell of himself.
A nightmare period at Chelsea, was followed by an even worse spell at AC Milan, before he was welcomed back to Atletico with open arms ahead of the 2014/15 season. But it wasn’t all plain sailing…
In two years between Jan 6 2014 and Jan 6 2016 he managed just 16 goals for club and country…
But since then he’s scored eight goals in 14 games for Atletico. The real Fernando Torres is back, and we couldn’t be happier.
Crucial goals in 1-0 away wins against Getafe and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, plus a vital away goal in the Camp Nou against Barcelona in the Champions League have all come Torres’ way, and the Spanish striker looks like a man playing with plenty of confidence again.
Torres now has eight goals in 2016 in La Liga and Europe – from just 32 attempts on goal. Converting an astonishing 25 per cent of his efforts. In the same time period, some bloke called Lionel Messi has a 20 per cent conversion rate and Ronaldo’s is just 16 per cent.
Both Messi and Ronaldo have 22 goals each, compared to Torres’ eight, but the Atletico man’s conversion rate shows just how hot his current form is.
And that’s the reason why we’re more than happy to have a bit of the on Torres to open the scoring in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich. Pep Guardiola’s men have kept clean sheets in a quite astonishing 65 per cent of their Bundesliga games this season, but they’re not always watertight in Europe. Juventus scored four times against them across two legs, while Benfica also scored twice in the second leg of the quarter final.
At score first, or to find the onion bag at anytime, Torres looks a value punt to continue Atletico’s stunning European campaign.