Fernando Torres and the stolen moment

by Steve

Ha. I realise that the title sounds a little like some sort of twisted Mills & Boon novel. But then, this is something of a love letter to ‘El Nino’. His performance on Saturday, scoring a hat-trick against the hapless Hull, was a thing of beauty. While he can score scrappy goals, that wasn’t his method on this occasion. Each goal was taken with phenomenal grace, poise and thought.

And that’s what makes Torres such a fascinating player to watch. He is not purely instinctive. He doesn’t such prod at the ball, or find himself in the right place at the right time. On Saturday, each time he got the ball before scoring he still had plenty of work to do. And each time, he seemed to have just that little bit more time than anyone else on the pitch.

Like all truly great players, he seems able to ‘steal’ a moment in order to make the right decision. With a single touch, shimmy or pause he puts himself in control. Slow-motion replays show him at his best. He has that ‘stolen moment’, that split-second pause, where he can process all the information before him and plot his course. And then with absolute calm, execute it. No panic, no unnecessary rush.

The perfect moment to illustrate this was when Torres rounded the Hull ‘keeper Myhill. A lesser player would have snatched at the chance. Torres’ thought and skill made the likely outcome, of a goal, a certainty.

The confidence and presence of mind it takes to do this is almost unfathomable, and as Hull found out to their cost, almost impossible to defend against.