Perhaps Fernando Torres felt a slight sting on Saturday. It just might have been his wounded pride messing with his head.
The Chelsea striker celebrated his team’s triumph in the UEFA Champions League by giving an explosive interview to Spanish newspaper Diaro AS.
Chelsea manager Roberto di Matteo left the 28-year-old striker out of the starting 11 in the biggest game of the year. He came on in the 82nd minute, and helped Chelsea counter Bayern Munich’s barrage of attacks, but his overall impact was minimal.
When the game went to penalty kicks, Torres was left off the list of (the first five) penalty takers. These snubs may have contributed to the interview, in which he expressed his unhappiness at how he was treated at Chelsea, criticized his team’s tactics in the final, and showed his reluctance to commit his future to the club.
“It’s contradictory because I feel like I’m at a peak moment in my career, with more desire and hunger than I’ve felt in a long time, but I’ve had to spend the final on the bench,” Torres said. “It was a huge disappointment when I saw the line-up, perhaps the biggest disappointment in my life.
“I thought I would play in this game and I couldn’t imagine not doing so. But in the end I could participate and offer the team something.”
Despite the game finishing 1-1 after 120 minutes of open play, Bayern Munich dominated the contest. Chelsea sat deep in its own end, offering very little going forward. On another day, the German club could have scored four or five goals, but it wasted a number of clear scoring chances.
Torres said it was a mistake for Chelsea to take such a defensive approach. He thinks it may not have fit with the winning mentality the players had coming into the game.
“No, no, we were thinking about winning,” Torres said. “I think that what we needed today was to attack, I don’t think we did the right thing settling for 0-0, and they punished us with [Thomas] Muller’s goal.
“The thing that has made this team so great, that has made us beat Barcelona, Napoli, Benfica, has been the fact that we defended through attacking, and today we didn’t attack. We attacked during the last ten minutes and part of extra time which gave us chances, if not we’d have lost 1-0.”
Torres, Chelsea’s £50 million ($80 million) record signing, sounds like he has given thought to leaving the club. The Blues wouldn’t want an unhappy striker on its books — especially one that is among the club’s highest earners — and selling him is one way to recoup some value from the investment.
The Spanish hitman is expecting Chelsea to clarify his situation at the club. If his demands are not met, he may force a transfer like he has done in the past.
“For someone to tell me what is going to happen and what sort of role I will have within the team, what my duties are, what they expect of me and then judge whether it is worth it,” was his answer when asked what he expects this summer.
Torres has clearly forgotten Marcellus Wallace‘s words of advice in Pulp Fiction. Perhaps he’s never seen the movie. But the advice is important. As Wallace would say, “Pride only hurts. It never helps. You fight through (it), Fernando.”