James Corrigan: Torres beats Christmas Carroll as biggest turkey

The Way I See It: Has there ever been a more dramatic fall from favour than that of Torres? Er, yes. Remember Ronaldinho?

Never mind the Year of the Rabbit, 2011 has been the Year of the Turkey. Or to use its official term, the Year of the Flop Superstar Striker. We have not experienced a 12-month period in which so much faith and finance was invested in men, only for them to spend most of their time on benches doing sod all. Well, not since the last General Election anyway.

Conduct an audit around our footballing citadels and tot up the waste – and grip on tight as it hurtles past the £150m mark. Naturally, the circumstances differ from case to case, although these go-backwards forwards seem to fall into three categories. The strikers who aren't as good as we think they are; the strikers who aren't as good as they think they are; the strikers who aren't as bad as their managers think they are.

Fernando Torres leads the way with such celebrity, just as he has led the line with such infamy. The word is Chelsea are set to cut their losses on El Nino (who is such a pale version of his old self, his nickname should be updated to Al Bino) but, similar to American bankers circa 2008, they are desperate not to be seen as desperate. "Twenty five million won't buy him," says my Stamford Bridge mole. And guess what? I'm one of them.

Has there ever been such a drastic fall from footballing favour, from being the marksman the pub-bore has salivated over to becoming the marksman the pub-bore has regurgitated over? Erm, yes.

Remember Ronaldinho? Now back in Brazil at Flamengo, the twice World Player of the Year was not picked in the 30-man squad for South Africa 2010, and Mario Zagallo, a Jules Rimet legend as both player and coach, doesn't believe he should make the next World Cup either. "He doesn't have the organic conditions," said the 80-year-old. And he wasn't referring to Ronaldinho's tomatoes.

The transfer columns have Ronaldinho joining Paris St-Germain alongside David Beckham. Madame Tussauds must be tempted to put out a select XI to take on PSG, if only on the grounds of pace, movement and the ability to melt in the heat. Maybe PSG should sign Dimitar Berbatov as well. After leading the Premier League scoring charts last season, all the £30.75m purchase has to boast this season is becoming the first Bulgarian to gain 1m followers on Facebook (although any praise on that score should be limited as Vladislav The Grammarian refused to sign up because of all the "lols" and "pmsls").

The second category has as their poster boy one Carlos Tevez. He is the fans' favourite in the same way that Sid Vicious was the punks' favourite. He wears his heart on his sleeve and his wallet in his heart. He has managed to offend everyone at some stage this year and even managed to offend Manchester City on stage at an Argentine nightclub. There Tevez hugged a pop star appropriately named Carlos "La Mona" Jimenez, who ridiculed the club who dared to fine him £500,000 and placed him on gardening leave for refusing to play, or warm up to play, or warm up not to play, or whatever it is you believe.

And then Tevez joined in La Mona's Quié* se ha tomado todo el vino ("Who drank all the wine?"), which comes with a characteristic hand movement. It should not be confused with the jitty which begins "Tevez, you're a..." and also comes complete with a characteristic hand movement.

Tevez is under the misapprehension he isn't expendable. Robert Mancini has proved he is, so Tevez must move (probably to PSG).

The final category should provoke sympathy. In fact, it's possible to shed proper tears for Jermain Defoe. It is not fair to label him a "flop" as he hasn't been afforded the opportunity to "flop" anywhere but on wood. Nobody would disagree he is a great striker, least of all Harry Redknapp. "I'm his biggest fan," says Harry, before picking Rafael Van der Vaart and, rather bizarrely on occasion, Roman Pavyluchenko, ahead of him. Perhaps Harry always wants Defoe close by on the bench because of the frequent urge to tell him how highly he rates him.

There are many, many other Premier League strikers who fit into these categories. Andy Carroll and Andrei Arshavin are naturals to sit alongside Torres, Nicklas Bendtner might even rival Tevez for an elevated sense of self-worth, while Edin Dzeko must wonder what he has done wrong. What do this lot think when they see the likes of Javier Hernandez (£7m), Daniel Sturridge (£6.5m) and Demba Ba (zilch) offering such value for money.

There is definitely something go on here, something to do with the pressure, with the expectation, with the panic to buy a 20-goal-a-season man. Whatever it might be, it has inspired those creative brains at TalkSport to come across all witty. Instead of the "Ballon D'Or" they have created the "Barndoor". This year's recipient is obvious, but, in fairness to Fernando, he does have competition. To think, they once asked: "Who'd be a goalkeeper?" With the Turkeys of 2011 bearing down upon them, the answer would have to be anyone with two arms, a bobble hat and a green jersey.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash