Imagine being a £50m striker playing for a top Premier League club, everything would be great right?
Well, now imagine you hadn’t scored a goal for 5 months! The press are running an eagle eye over everything you do or don’t do every match, the fans are losing faith in you, your team-mates voice support but must be frustrated, and your managers seem to fancy another forward over you.
So if at 2-0 up in an FA Cup tie you had the chance to take a penalty and end the drought, would you?
This is the dilemma Fernando Torres was faced with on Tuesday night at St.Andrews. The £50m forward won the penalty against Birmingham City after being brought down by N’Daw and with Chelsea already 2-0 up the Stamford Bridge faithful roared for Torres to take it himself.
The designated penalty taker and fellow Spaniard Juan Mata offered the chance to Torres who turned the opportunity aside. A move which stunned fans, players, managers and the press alike. Fuelled further by Mata’s failure to convert the spot kick.
Juan Mata was quoted by the Daily Mail stating:
“I asked Fernando if he wanted to take it because he had won the penalty”, said Mata.
“But he said “I’m not first on the list to shoot” and so he did not take it. Fernando is my friend and I try to help him”.
“I don’t know why he didn’t take it”.
Looking at the situation from Fernando’s point of view however, it is understandable. Torres is not a known penalty taker, he rarely took them for Athletico or Liverpool and his conversion rate of penalties he has taken is far from impressive.
So even though the temptation of possibly ending his drought must have been ripe maybe he considered the ramifications if he missed.
The media would have had a field day at his expense and his confidence would have taken yet another battering.
Did he bottle the chance? Of course he did. Did he have good reason? I believe so yes, the consequences of missing may just have outweighed the benefits of scoring it.
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