Chelsea striker Fernando Torres refused to take FA Cup penalty against Birmingham City
Fernando Torres refused to take a penalty for Chelsea on Tuesday night that might have ended a goal drought that is now approaching five months and fully 24 hours of playing time.
The £50 million striker had been brought down to win a spot kick during the 2-0 FA Cup win against Birmingham but, according to team-mate Juan Mata, insisted that they stick to their prearranged list of penalty takers.
Mata duly missed the penalty and revealed that he would have been willing to step aside in favour of his Spain international team-mate.
“I asked him if he wanted to take it because he provoked the penalty,” explained Mata. “He said, ‘I’m not first on the list to shoot’, so that’s what happened. It was because he forced the penalty that I gave him the chance.”
Asked if he was surprised that Torres did not volunteer, Mata said: “I don’t know. Roberto Di Matteo puts a list with who shoots penalties and that was it.”
Torres played the full 90 minutes of Tuesday’s fifth-round replay but was again lacking sharpness, while his decision not to step forward for the penalty hardly reflects favourably on his confidence.