It may have taken a hundred games but Chelsea’s record signing now looks as comfortable and free in blue as he was in red a few years ago, so will the real Fernando Torres stand up please.
No longer burdened by the weight of his £50m price tag, Torres is playing with a smile not a scowl as he revels in the role of Jose Mourinho’s ‘go to’ striker.
After a difficult and protracted start to his Chelsea career, the controversial arrival of Rafa Benitez at the Bridge was supposed to coincide with the re-birth of the Spanish international.
But, despite being back under the wing of a man so instrumental in Torres’ wonder years at Anfield, the former European and World champion still failed to shake off the shackles and deliver.
However, with Chelsea fans beginning to give up on ever seeing the real Torres again, the second coming of Jose Mourinho has led to the second coming of the boy who would be king.
For so long Torres had looked a tortured soul and, while it is difficult for the average man in the street to feel sorry for a miserable multi-millionaire, it is good to see him smiling again.
The smile which lit up the Premier League during his goal-laden Liverpool career is back, never more so than in Gelsenkirchen last night when his natural instincts came back to the fore.
Two poacher’s goals, a common trait of the great and the good strikers, set up a comfortable 3-0 Chelsea win against Schalke and, in a thrice, all is right with the world.
Mourinho likened the Blues’ renaissance to ‘cleaning up the garbage’ of the past. The same might be said of Torres whose new broom still has a huge amount of sweeping to do.
The Chelsea boss hopes to see the best of Torres on a consistent basis, and he praised his striker not just for his goals last night but his ‘total professionalism’, insisting he has never lost faith.
Whether you are a Chelsea fan or not, I think every decent football supporter would hope this is a new beginning for Torres – not the start of another false dawn.