Before Fernando Torres came Fernando Morientes, and he was lightyears away in terms of ability.
We think most Liverpool fans would agree with us when we say that the club have been fairly unlucky when it comes to signing Spanish players – other than Torres, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina, of course. Fernando Morientes is just another flop added to a list of other embarrassments including Iago Aspas, Suso, and Luis Alberto.
Morientes had made himself quite the name before he arrived at Anfield. After scoring 36 goals (yes, 36) in two seasons with Real Zaragoza, the forward earned himself a move to Real Madrid. He won the Champions League three times between 1998 and 2002 and was a finalist two years later with Monaco scoring nine goals in 12 games. On paper, the 2004 European Striker of the Year should have been so good, he even earned himself a recall back to Madrid. They actually wanted him back. And we do not blame them, 99 goals in 261 games make for pretty good viewing.
Expectations were understandably high when Morientes made the move to link up with his new Liverpool teammates in 2005 to the tune of £6.3million (as per Telegraph), but the reality of his performances soon brought things crashing back down. Two goals in his opening five games did not look too bad, but the desperate one in 11 following that really was pathetic.
The Premier League had not been kind to him, but the Champions League, where he had been so prolific in the past, offered a charitable helping hand. Two goals against CSKA Moscow and a wonder-strike against Anderlecht should have given him the confidence to kick on, but nothing could save the sinking ship.
Five goals in 28 matches the following season is the kind of record that encourages people to make bold claims like, ‘my nan could do better’ or ‘put me on and I will score me’.
He was moved on after just 16 months at Anfield joining Valencia in July 2006.
La Liga was a little kinder to him than the Premier League. A goal in every home game at the Mestalla in his opening season was truly remarkable stuff, but the seven goals in 42 matches the following two terms was a little less impressive.
Morientes’ goal scoring days were pretty much out of the window when he joined Marseille at the tender age of 33, and though he managed to lift the French domestic title providing a single goal in the process, we would go as far to say he probably did not deserve it.
The Spaniard announced his retirement from football in August 2010 but made a very brief return to football four-and-a-half years later to join DAV Santa Ana in the Madrid regional championships.
His most recent position in football came as manager of second-tier side Fuenlabrada, but he was sacked after just 25 games in charge.
Liverpool fans, what are some of your standout memories of Fernando Morientes? Join the discussion in the comments below…
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