I find it difficult to engage in schadenfreude when it comes to Fernando Torres because he’s so pretty. Sure, it was funny at first – £50m former world’s best striker looking less likely to score six yards away from goal than world’s most hideous face Steve Buscemi at a nightclub – but it’s now become a global source of depression (step aside, financial markets). It’s not easy seeing someone who at one point was such a phenomenal artist that he could easily have been the topic of ‘The Artist’ go through so much misery. Especially since he’s got such a pretty face, such a pretty face.
But Fernando isn’t alone. Torres shares similarities with a certain Elizabeth Grant that go deeper than a fine façade, a sexy silhouette, and tantalising talent. Elizabeth Grant is the musician Lana Del Rey, but Lana Del Rey is the controversial success Elizabeth Grant wasn’t, and in the same manner, the controversial success that Lizzy Grant wasn’t. Lana Del Rey doesn’t really exist, but she is the artist behind what The Guardian have chosen as the finest piece of music in 2011.
We cannot be certain that if the girl we now refer to as Lana Del Rey had stayed Lizzy Grant, she would have achieved the same success Lana Del Rey is currently enjoying. Somehow, there is this expectation that Lana Del Rey will very soon be synonymous with the music industry. While the talent this woman has is apparent, the fact is that Lizzy Grant wasn’t working as much as Lana Del Rey currently is. After all, Grant had previously released an LP, along with a significant number of singles, none of which were, in the slightest, successful. Of course, when all this came to light, cruelly negative press ensued, with Lana Del Rey accused of being a ‘failed mainstream artist […] rebranded behind major label dollars’ - her father is a millionaire domain investor.
But female artists bordering the fine line between indie and mainstream media aside, “Fernando Torres” really isn’t working for Fernando Torres at the moment. “Torres” is still bereft of that something he had going for him two, three, four years ago. It’s gone, and it’s unfortunate because we know it’s there, lurking somewhere and just waiting to thrust itself onto us. It just needs a little nudge, Fernando Torres needs a little nudge. Austin Powers had his mojo stolen, but Fernando Torres seems to have misplaced his. Powers therefore had a simpler task – go back in time and salvage it. Torres doesn’t know where it is (though my guess is in the northeast – didn’t Andy Carroll really hit form around the same time Torres went a little haphazard, and didn’t Demba Ba hit form around the same time Carroll went a little haphazard? Curious, that), which makes his task altogether more befuddling.
But Fernando Torres has an easy escape route, the same escape route taken by Lizzy Grant, by David Robert Hayward-Jones (David Bowie), by Holly Brook (Skylar Grey), by Sean John Combs (Puffy, Puff Daddy, P Diddy, Diddy, Swag - though, to be fair, none of this was entirely necessary), amongst many, many others. Fernando has done it before. The veil of "El Niño" used to work like a charm, but alas, he’s now approaching 28.
Fernando Torres, you’re not a kid anymore. It’s time to rebrand yourself. Change your name. Keep your face. Regain your mojo. Don’t let Steve Buscemi outscore you ever again. Don’t be a failed “mainstream” footballer. It’s a new year, and that’s your new mantra. Out with Fernando Torres and in with…