Spain World Cup striker FERNANDO TORRES (9) of English Premier League club FC Chelsea dribbles around his teammate on Espana’s title-winning team in South Africa, the not-necessarily realiable FC Barcelona netminder VICTOR VALDES, during the final moments of the incredible UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg match at the Camp Nou in Catalonia.
For all the crying and wailing done by the club’s supporters in addition to the worldwide Lame Stream Media recently, it does not really take a rocket scientist to figure out just exactly why FC BARCELONA — who currently trail arch-rival Real Madrid by seven points with but three matches to play in the domestic schedule — will not be departing for Munich to defend the coveted and prestigous title it won last season in the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final next month at the Allianz Arena in southern Germany.
As evidenced by the official match statistics from the UEFA Champions League website, itself, the goalkeeping this term from FC Barcelona was, quite simply put, clearly not consistent with the “greatest football team ever” accolades that are routinely bestowed upon the Spanish imposters.
2011/12 UEFA Champions League
thru semifinals (all matches including playoffs)
83.08% sv pct — 54 saves – 11 goals …… Petr CECH, FC Chelsea
81.82% sv pct — 36 saves —- 8 goals …… Manuel NEUER, Bayern Munich
78.57% sv pct — 33 saves —- 9 goals …… Iker CASILLAS, Real Madrid
47.37% sv pct —– 9 saves – 10 goals …… Victor VALDES, FC Barcelona
NOTES … Real Madrid reserve goalkeeper Antonio ADAN made one appearance against Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands and was credited with eight saves while earning a clean sheet. FC Barcelona cover Jose Manuel PINTO got a game against visiting FC BATE Borisov of Belarus but did not have to stop a shot. Bayern Munich’s back-up netminder Hans-Joerg BUTT had a solitary outing opposite Manchester City in England and registered six saves while conceding a pair of goals (75.0% save percentage).
Spain international FERNANDO TORRES had fired just four goals in 42 Premier League matches since being bought by FC Chelsea from FC Liverpool for the massive transfer fee of 50.0 million English pounds (about 61.3 million Euros) in January of 2011 heading into the UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg. But the 28-year-old striker went a considerable way towards justifying his expensive purchase all by scoring a late insurance goal on native soil against mighty FC Barcelona at Camp Nou. Suitably inspired, Torres promptly went out and scored three goals for FC Chelsea in the Blues’ big 6-1 victory over London intra-city adversary Queens Park Rangers at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Football is about far more than just fancy passing and looking pretty for supporters with lots of time in possession. Staunch goalkeeping and rock-solid defense have always been an integral as well as honorable part of Pele’s Beautiful Game. As it should be.