Chelsea's record signing Fernando Torres struggled to cope with sharing the limelight in a star-studded squad at Stamford Bridge, according to Didier Drogba. The Spanish striker joined from Liverpool for £50m ($76.5m) in the 2011 January transfer window, but scored just 45 goals in five seasons in West London amid problems with form and fitness.
Torres arrived at the Blues, for a then British record fee, with the club having won the Premier League title the previous season, scoring 103 goals in the process. Their squad at the time included the likes of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Drogba all in their pomp. But the forward failed to adapt to his surroundings and has since moved on to AC Milan prior to returning on loan to former club Atletico Madrid.
Drogba was coming to the end of his Chelsea spell upon Torres' arrival, but the former Ivory Coast international reveals his arrival reinvigorated his career. "With all due respect to Liverpool, at that club, Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres had been the kings," Drogba said in his autobiography 'Commitment', according to ESPN.
"At Chelsea, there were 22 kings. So I really felt for Nando, because I knew how difficult the situation was for him. At Liverpool, the team was geared around him as their main striker.
"It wasn't that others couldn't score – they could – but they fed him the ball, they structured the team around him with the aim that he would score. That's not how it was at Chelsea."
Drogba, now at Major League Soccer side Montreal Impact, added: "As I was 32, people inevitably started to think, 'Ah, he's not what he was before, he's over the hill.'
"Suddenly Fernando Torres was signed, partly because I had been ill and partly because, as they told me, they wanted to start preparing the succession, the time when I was no longer around. 'OK, I'm not done yet, but hey, no problem!' I felt like saying. I understood the club's point of view, though. They had to anticipate, and I had to accept."