Fernando Torres can’t rejoin Chelsea because he doesn’t exist

“It’s impossible; it’s not going to happen. He is on loan at Milan for the next two seasons and we don’t have any space in the team or in the lists of players for the league or the Champions League.”

That was Chelsea manager José Mourinho speaking about the talent formerly known as Fernando Torres during his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea’s weekend encounter with Hull City. Mourinho sounds resolute, but his words are easy to misconstrue. Mourinho isn’t turning the page on his former player; he’s actually just saying: “Fernando Torres doesn’t exist.”

And he isn’t mistaken.

This is Fernando Torres:

Liverpool v Fulham - Premier League


This is something else:

AC Cesena v AC Milan - Serie A

Absentee player Fernando Torres has been missing for years. Rumors of his existence have been rampant, ever since he allegedly joined Chelsea in 2011. But the eyes don’t lie. Fernando Torres is gone, and the rumors have made it hard for those around him come to terms with his disappearance.

Imagine how hard is to hear that the Spaniard is on the field, only to learn after the final whistle that he was nowhere to be found. It’s difficult. That’s why Mourinho’s words, although harsh-sounding, shouldn’t be processed as the sounds of a defiant manager. These are the sounds of a distraught father seeking closure over the loss of a loved one.

But while Mourinho’s words have a hint of finality, there actually is room at Chelsea for Torres, both in the team and in the list of players for the league and the Champions League, especially next year. There’s also room for Torres, if found in sound mental and physical health, to play in the FA Cup and Carling Cup. But most importantly, there’s room for Torres in people’s hearts.

Mourinho knows this. You can sense it in his words. Nothing is impossible, even though many often get that sense when Torres is in front of goal. But for any of these things to materialize, in order for Mourinho to make room for Torres, he needs to be found. He needs to exist. And that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.

Loss is hard to process. It takes time, space, and perspective. So before turning on Mourinho for being so stubbornly ready to move on to post-Torres life, it may serve us well to walk a day in his shoes and think about how difficult it must be to have to consistently field questions about the disappearance of a beloved family member.

You aren’t alone, José. We grieve with you. #Pray4Jose #RememberNando

Photo credits, from top to bottom: Torres looks on during the Barclays Premier League match on Jan. 26, 2011 (Alex Livesey/Getty Images); Torres (allegedly) during a Serie A match on Sept. 28, 2014 (Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images).