Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
£50m striker Fernando Torres found himself relegated to the substitute's bench in Roberto Di Matteo's final game as Chelsea manager
£50m striker Fernando Torres found himself relegated to the substitute's bench in Roberto Di Matteo's final game as Chelsea manager

Fernando Torres may never recapture old scoring ability, warns new Chelsea coach Rafael Benitez

Chelsea's new interim head coach has warned that Dh293m striker Fernando Torres may never be able to get back his once-prolific goalscoring form.

ABU DHABI // Fernando Torres may be looking forward to the prospect of his reunion with Rafael Benitez, but Chelsea’s new caretaker coach is not sure the striker can ever reclaim the level of his Liverpool days.

Benitez was appointed by Chelsea to replace Roberto Di Matteo until the end of the season as he was flying out of Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, having been in the Emirates for a coaching seminar.

And one of the factors in his appointment will have been the club’s hope that he can reinvigorate Torres and get him back to the kind of goal-scoring form he showed when playing under Benitez at Liverpool. Torres moved to Chelsea in January 2011, for a record £50 million (Dh293m), but has struggled since, scoring goals in fits and starts.

“I’ve said before, Torres at the beginning of last season was trying very, very hard,” Benitez said during the seminar on Wednesday. “He’s still trying very hard but I still think he’ll improve. Can he get back to that level, I’m not sure but he can improve, especially if he can improve his confidence, he can get back to high levels.”

At Liverpool under Benitez, Torres scored 33 goals in their first season together, 17 in the second and 24 in the third. But at Chelsea, he has only 19 goals across all competitions. He was dropped from the side in the Champions League loss to Juventus on Tuesday night, a decision thought to have played a role in di Matteo’s exit.

After the seminar, Benitez suggested Torres had found it difficult to adjust to Chelsea’s style of play.

“The problem with some players is that they are doing so well in a team and their understanding is so good that it is difficult to replicate in another team,” he told The National. “Sometimes it is just a question of time. He’s a nice man and a good professional, very keen to learn.”

Just how important the relationship could be was clear from the words of Torres in an interview exactly a year ago.

“Rafa Benitez has been the most important coach in my career. He has been the only one who knew how to help me improve. His priority is the team but he adapts the conditions to make everyone fit in the team. That’s his secret. He taught me a lot and thanks to him I matured as a professional.”

One of Benitez’s first moves – other than telling fans, who may be cool to his appointment, that he wanted the same thing as them –was to appoint Boudewijn Zenden as an assistant, according to the Dutchman’s father and agent. Zenden played for Benitez at Liverpool before moving to Chelsea.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike puts Al Jazira on verge of qualifying for the last 16 of Asian Champions League

All to play for across East Asia during final round of group phase.

 Manchester City's Vincent Kompany reacts after being sent off by referee Lee Mason during their English Premier League soccer match against Hull City at the KC stadium in Hull, northern England March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Man City’s Manuel Pellegrini says Vincent Kompany is an important player

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini defends team captain and talks about team's injuries ahead of clash with Sunderland at home on Wednesday night.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Latifa Ali Al Shamsi of UAE fights compatriot Boshra Ghanem Al Zadjali in their 38.5kg match at the Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Christopher Pike / The National

Competitors at Abu Dhabi Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship target world domination

All of Wednesday’s winners at the tournament, being held in the UAE capital, are ambitious enough to target a black belt and reach the pinnacle of the sport, Amith Passela reports.

 Jacques Kallis top-scored with 72 for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National

Kallis kicks off IPL 7 with fifty as Kolkata thrash Mumbai

South African legend shows class is permanent as Knight Riders beat defending champions by 41 runs. Osman Samiuddin reports from Abu Dhabi.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National