If this list was made ten years ago, people would be shocked to see
Torres so low. Now they may be shocked to see him mentioned at all.
Yet, we must not let the uninspiring second half of his career overshadow the player he was in the first half. Just as it
would be absurd, in spite of their calamitous career ends, to not include Iker
Casillas or Bastian Schweinsteiger in a list of the best goalkeepers and defensive
midfielders of the century, not acknowledging Torres in this list would be
neglecting the fact that from 2007 to 2009, it’s quite possible he was the best
forward on the planet, only behind the already praise-monopolizing pair of
Ronaldo and Messi.
In his first Liverpool season, he scored 33 goals in all competitions.
That same year, he won the European Cup with Spain, scoring in the final, and ended
on the podium of the Ballon d’Or (a feat that, shockingly, no other player in
this list managed to accomplish). The next season, he formed one of the best
duos on the planet with Steven Gerrard, won the Puskas Award for his
PlayStation-like goal against Blackburn and earned his place, for the second
year running, in both the PFA Team of the Year and the FIFPro XI.
Of course, then came the move to Chelsea, then came the miss against
Manchester United… we won’t retell a story that’s been excessively dwelled on. But let’s not
forget that even after his evergoing dip in form, Torres still won a World Cup,
European Cup (being its joint top-scorer), a Champions League and became the only
player ever to score in all seven professional English club competitions in a
single season. Some players’ peak years pale in comparison.