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Fernando Torres: The Next Golden Boot?

Why do I care about the Golden Boot? What does it matter to me as a lover of a club? The Golden Boot doesn’t guarantee titles (eh, Mr Anelka?) or even European placement (eh, Mr Phillips?) It is glory for the individual in a collective endeavor and should be a mere footnote to the supporter who hungers for team glory. “Should” being the operative word.

I’m desparate to see Fernando Torres make the Golden Boot his own.  

When Torres first came to England, I had my doubts. I knew little of him apart from what I read on the web and from what I saw in scrappy YouTube clips. The kid had a reputation and I’d seen glimpses of his ability, but striker Fernando Morientes had come to Liverpool not so long ago bringing a great reputation and he still turned out to be as convincing as a hundred pound sumo wrestler.  Some people just can’t thrive in England.

So I waited for Torres to dazzle me and live up to his transfer fee (£20 + Luis Garcia). He didn’t keep me waiting long. Torres barely had his bags unpacked at Anfield when he blew into the attacking third, turned the Chelsea defender and fired the ball past Petr Cech from a wide angle. It was his second League match.

23 more League goals later (32 more in all competitions) and any doubt over Torres was a distant memory. He broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record for most goals scored by a foreign player in a debut season. He became a fast fan favorite and inspired both fear and reverence in rival clubs. But despite Torres’s prolificness, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31 League goals kept the Golden Boot from him (and Arsenal’s Adebayor actually netted 24 League goals as well).

I was sure Torres would be in contention for the award in 08/09 – I told myself, he’d simply been warming up in his first season – but recurring injuries held him back. He scored when he played. But he didn’t play enough. Nicolas Anelka won the Boot with 19 goals.

This, declares the writer on the eve of 2009/20, will be Torres’s season!

Yes, I’m making the call: Torres for the Golden Boot. This of course depends on him staying fit. But Liverpool’s entire season depends on him staying fit anyway. It is a different team when he and Gerrard are both available. They would have won the League last season if  it weren’t for the recurring injuries between those two. Torres needs to stay fit. And if he does so he’ll score more goals than ever.

But I must return to the question: why does the individual award matter to the team supporter?

Firstly, it is a testament to the greatness you have in your ranks. Supporters seek world class talent. By having that individual who is a cut above the rest, you have someone who can lift up the team and change results with  a moment’s notice. Football is a team sport, but it is also one where the best individuals become lightning rods and transform their team. When you’ve got that one player who transcends belief, you want him to get some personal recognition for his brilliance. You want outsiders to see what you see each day he steps onto the pitch.

But ultimately, we live for goals. That is the true allure of the Golden Boot. The season might be a marathon and the overall consistency of the team’s form as a whole is what dictates their final place on the table, but there’s no glory without goals. In a great season goals are the jewels of a great campaign. Whether or not the club achieves their goals for the season, supporters can remember those stunning moments that kept them enraptured in the good times, and staved off their misery in the bad times.

Players like Torres will not only score, they will score in style. His best goals will stand out in my mind for years. So, by the law of averages, the more goals he scores next season, the more likely we are to see those goals that are a class apart. These will be the ones I cling to and treasure. The ones that defy time, space and physics. Like his goal against Blackburn, where he caught the long pass on his chest in the right side of the box, let it bounce with the net behind him, and then slingshotted it across and into the far side of the goal. 

 So here’s to Torres winning the Golden Boot. I wouldn’t take it over him winning the Premier League. But the kid deserves the recognition and I hope he makes it his own. If he stays fit, I see him breaking the 30 goal mark in the League. I hope he gets this train a-rolling on Sunday. Go get ’em, kid.

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  1. Gaz

    August 14, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I think it’ll definitely be between Drogba and Torres. And the one that wins will be the one that can stay fit longer.

    Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Pursie, Adebayor? That’s the only others I can even think of.

    And Owen… don’t make me laugh.

  2. dude mcbrah

    August 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    too injury prone and doesn’t have quality around him now that alonso is gone. even when fit he ranks a distant third behind drogba and rooney, he is however a much better diver than those two.

  3. DC

    August 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    Do you guys think Rooney has a legitimate chance at becoming the top goal scorer at the end of the year? His knack for goals was a lot greater before C. Ronaldo came into his own at Man United…

    • Uarafool

      August 13, 2009 at 7:02 pm

      I don’t think Rooney has a chance he is not a top goal scorer but what he does bring to the table is defending from the front not giving the opposition a second to think about a pass before he’s on them which in turn wins the ball for him or forces a mistake he is more than capable scoring but is better lying it off to berbatov (who’s been poor but surly must get better) or Owen.
      He’s hyper aggressive most defenders hate playing against him similar to Tevez (only Tevez’s slightly less aggressive).

  4. Kaz

    August 13, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Torres is the closest person to Christiano in terms of his goal scoring ability. Ever since he landed in England I have loved this guys ability especially in the 18 yds box. As a proud life time ManU fan, I have always hoped that we could some how find a way to liberate him from that other red team. He is the best pure striker in world football, compare to Christiano who is a winger with great goal scoring instincts.

  5. Uarafool

    August 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Torres is buy far the best forword in Engalnd and would finish top if he wasn’t injured 15-20% of the games and I’ve got more chance than Rooney lol. Drogbas a good bet but don’t forget Anelka total class and iI hate to say it but if Owen can turn back the clock and avoid injury he could have a go.

    • Tyson

      August 13, 2009 at 5:44 pm

      Torres is far from the best forward anywhere.

      You don’t seem to understand anything about how formations work.

      Last year the top scorer in Europe was Diego Forlan. He scored more than Eto, Messi, Henry, Kaka, Ronaldo, Torres or any other top player in the world.

      Diego Forlan isn’t necessarily better than Messi but the difference is with the formation Atletico play most of the opportunities created go Forlans way whereas with Barca the opportunities have to be divided between three forwards.

      With a 4-2-3-1 formation all the opportunities created end up at one mans feet.

      With a 4-3-3 formation like Barcelona adopt that means there are three players up front to tackle the goal scoring responsibilities and share the spoils.

      If you put Ronaldo up front in a 4-2-3-1 formation he would score a hell of a lot more than Torres ever did. It’s the same with Messi.

      • Uarafool

        August 13, 2009 at 6:29 pm

        I thought we were talking top in the EPL. Torres’ s season was stop go all year with injuries, but the year before was nearly injury free with 33 goals in 40 odd games in his first year in England 2nd only to an amazing season by Ronaldo (UK only) compare this with Drogba, Ronaldo, Anelka in their first year it is phenomenal.

        Ronaldo was used a centre forward at times but it doesn’t work he has a different style to the others i.e. likes to be off the defenders to do his best work going at them where as drogba likes to use his strength and power on the line shoulder to shoulder bulling if you like (until he jumps on the floor major diver!) play Ronaldo up on his own and he definitely doesn’t score as many as if you play him father back.

        Forlan is certainly better at scoring than Messi but not as good an entertainer or at getting assists but Forlan scores more than Messi every year but as with Ronaldo it doesn’t mean if you move him forward he’ll get more! Quite the opposite

  6. Thomas

    August 13, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Liverpool talk because it seems like Ethan is the only one writing articles on a consistent basis.

    I think it would be interesting for EPL talk to pick up a correspondant from every team in the Prem. Interesting to see people who follow some of the less mentioned clubs, giving us pre season updates, etc.

    Like most news outlets, there’s a predominant amount of coverage for the big 4, followed by other “noteworthy” clubs like Spurs and City.

    Real drop off in terms of the mid table and lower half. I’ve seen very little coverage of those besides the promotion preview, and a bit addressing these teams with regards to overall season previews.

    • Tyson

      August 13, 2009 at 5:37 pm

      Manchester United and Liverpool get significantly more coverage on EPL than any other club and this is coming from a United fan.

      I wouldn’t mind reading a little more about Everton, Aston Villa and some other good top 8 teams more often to be honest.

      • Gaz

        August 14, 2009 at 11:58 am

        Everyone that is complaining about Liverpool articles could start sending writing samples to The Gaffer with their team as the center piece. 🙂

  7. Tyson

    August 13, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Now that Ronaldo is gone my money is on Wayne Rooney.

    Xavi and Iniesta did a better job of feeding the ball to Messi, Eto and henry than any other midfield in the world but the reason none of them won the golden shoe is because they have to divide opportunities between the three of them.

    The Liverpool formation means all opportunties created by Xabi generally end up at the feet of Fernando Torres. Otherwise the man wouldn’t be able to tie Messis shoelace.

    Now that Xabi the mean creating the opportunities is gone the opportunities will naturally fall to a fraction of what they were.

    On the other hand with a goal scoring machine like Ronaldo on your team Rooney was also played out of position to cater to Ronaldo.

    Now Rooney is being played in the right position and goal scoring machine has gone giving him more opportunities to score.

    I give the boot to either Rooney or Drogba.

  8. bluefanmd

    August 13, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Aquialani is injured and out for the first two months of the season. For the £20 million Benitez signed him for, he came with his own set of crutches. Roma are laughing at that transfer! Screw the Pool!

    My money is on Drogba!

  9. Toronto FC

    August 13, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Is this EPL talk or Liverpool Talk????

    • Lyle

      August 14, 2009 at 4:24 am

      That was my first thought as well. Haha.

      • Joaq

        August 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

        Seriously, I am absolutely fed up with reading about Liverpool trash.

  10. Thomas

    August 13, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Torres is probably the best striker in England right now, and arguably the world. I would not be the least bit surprised if he wins the Golden Boot (like you said, if healthy). Adding Glen Johnson, IMO, will increase the quality of service Torres will get, and improve Liverpool immensely going forward (I’m assuming Aquialani doesn’t miss a beat and is able to step in and do an adequate job replacing Xabi)

    The way Drogba has looked, I think it’s safe to say that he might be the only other forward competing for the award. A lot of the other high scoring teams don’t really have one key guy when it comes to goals…Arsenal is going to score a lot, but I think it’s going to be by comity.

    Another guy that comes to mind is Jermain Defoe. Say what you will, the guy is a lethal finisher, and you have to assume he’s going to be a big part of Harry’s plans at Spurs. I can see him bagging 15-20 goals in the league, especially since I think Spurs are going to be a lot better next year.

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