FEW outside of Stamford Bridge have been as pleased to see former Liverpool FC goal-getter Fernando Torres finally rediscover his goalscoring touch in recent weeks.
But close friend Pepe Reina would like nothing more than to phone his former team-mate tomorrow offering commiserations rather than the usual encouragement.
The pair are poised to face off at Wembley this evening when Liverpool aim to complete a domestic cup double by beating Champions League finalists Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
Torres can expect a hostile reception from the red half of the stadium, many of which can never forgive him for moving to the Londoners in January 2011.
While the Spaniard’s subsequent struggles reach a nadir with a 24-match goal drought earlier this season, Torres has found form in the build-up to today’s showpiece with a famous strike in Barcelona followed by a hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers.
And Reina, a former next-door-neighbour of Torres, was in no doubt the £50million man would come good on the Kings’s Road.
“I told him he was going to be back,” says the 29-year-old. “People, and the press in this country especially, were killing him but he has been carrying that weight all his life.
“He was captain of Atletico Madrid when he was 19 and that gave him a lot of experience. We knew Fernando at Liverpool, we know Fernando, and Fernando is a great player. He will always be a great player.
“I'm happy for him because he has been showing great form lately and has been more involved in their games. Physically he looks sharper.
“It's good for the Spanish national team and good for himself. Maybe not so good for us on Saturday but I wish him to be at that level all the time.”
Reina has pointed the finger at Chelsea, and particularly former manager Andre Villas-Boas, for failing to properly accommodate Torres, the striker unable to replicate his feats with Liverpool, where he scored 81 goals in 142 appearances.
“When you move there is always a question mark,” says Reina. “We knew how good he was here but he needed to change city, team-mates and the mentality of the team. That is a hell of a change.
“He had to get used to that but also keep delivering and the expectations when a team has spent £50m on a player are also very high.
“The pressure was there but I don't think it was only down to Fernando. I don't think Chelsea as a club delivered for him.
“We built a team for Fernando here. Along with Stevie, Fernando was our star player. We had no problems admitting that. I'm not sure it's like that at Chelsea.
“The difference between Fernando and myself is that I have had the confidence of the people at my club all the time. With Villas-Boas especially, I don't think Fernando felt that confidence.”
Unsurprisingly, Reina would welcome Torres back at Anfield with open arms. And the goalkeeper has intimated his compatriot may be among the many who have lamented leaving Liverpool.