Drogba vs. Torres: An open letter to Alex Monteath…


Yesterday you bashfully, yet nonchalantly, stated that Didier Drogba is a superior footballer to Fernando Torres. As promised, I have compiled a collection of facts and statistics that would support the assertion that Torres is indeed the better footballer. The following points would seem to suggest that you may be incorrect in your assumption.

Unlike tiresome Gerrard v Lampard arguments which often lead to Chelsea fans stating ‘how many Premier League medals has Gerrard won?’ (a question which does nothing to taint the merits of Steven Gerrard as a footballer, or indeed exacerbate Frank Lampard’s individual footballing qualities), we shall leave out domestic trophy hauls from this argument, as they serve to highlight the merits of the team, not necessarily the player.

For the sake of argument, let us start on the understanding that both players in question operate as traditional number nines for their teams; unlike for example, players like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi (to name but two), both Torres and Drogba are conventional, centre-forwards, who operate as lone strikers, and act as the chief goalscorers for their respective clubs.

To start with, let us compare the goalscoring tallies of the two players during their time in England. The strikers’ goalscoring rates are in brackets next to the tallies. Due to the embryonic stage of the current Premier League season, I have only included the tallies for each of the duo’s full seasons in England.

Fernando Torres

33 in 46 (1 in every 1.4 games)

17 in 38 (1 in every 2.2 games)

22 in 32 (1 in every 1.5 games)

Overall: 72 in 116 (1 in every 1.6 games)

Didier Drogba

16 in 41 (1 in every 2.6 games)

16 in 41 (1 in every 2.6 games)

33 in 60 (1 in every 1.8 games)

15 in 32 (1 in every 2.1 games)

14 in 42 (1 in every 3 games)

37 in 44 (1 in 1.2 games)

Overall: 131 in 260 (Just over 1 in every 2 games)

So what is clear from these respective tallies thus far, is that Torres is clearly the more prolific centre-forward. During four of his six seasons in England, Drogba has ended up with tallies of 16 goals or less, a return that could be deemed as unsatisfactory for a leading club’s main centre-forward.

In addition to this, we can deduce that Fernando Torres scores at a rate of 2 goals in every 3 games, whilst Didier Drogba scores at the inferior rate of 1 goal in every 2 games (a rate that is considered to be a respectable rate for most centre-forwards).

In the pantheon of Premier League forwards, Drogba’s strike-rate does not compare as favourably as that of his Spanish counterpart. A barometer of gauging Drogba and Torres’s goalscoring abilities against those of Premier League greats of yore is by seeing how quickly the pair reached 50 Premier League goals. The following list denotes the number of games it took certain players to reach 50 goals in the Premier League:

65 – Andy Cole

66 – Alan Shearer

68 – Ruud van Nistelrooy

72 – Fernando Torres (1 goal in every 1.44 games)

83 – Kevin Phillips

83 – Thierry Henry

87 – Ian Wright

88 – Robbie Fowler

94 – Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink

94 – Teddy Sheringham

96 – Les Ferdinand

97 – Matthew Le Tissier

98 – Michael Owen

106 – Didier Drogba (1 goal in every 2.12 games)

108 – Emmanuel Adebayor

Again, this list does not support your argument that Drogba is the better goalscorer. Fernando Torres is fourth on this list, whilst Drogba is 13th. Statistically, Fernando Torres is a much better goalscorer than Didier Drogba. We must also take into consideration the fact that Torres does not take any of Liverpool’s penalties or free-kicks, whilst Drogba is frequently on set-piece and spot-kick duty for Chelsea.

I do appreciate that Didier Drogba is a world-class centre-forward; he is a truly gifted footballer, and is certainly amongst the top 20 footballers in the world today. However, as a goalscorer, I feel that he pales in comparison to my beloved Fernando Torres.

Yours sincerely,

Zarif Rasul

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  • Suminder Sandhu says:

    I hope Alex Monteath appreciates this, Zarif!

    The stats are impossible to deny, Torres’s record is truly ridiculous (what is it at Anfield now? Something like 41 in 43 appearances??). But Drogba has become, probably, the best player in a team that is filled with exceptional performers. What’s harder to quantify is if carrying a team (like Torres has done) or being the best out of an already elite lot (Drogba) is more special.

    As you say, though, both are incredible forwards.

  • “I do appreciate that Didier Drogba is a world-class centre-forward; he is a truly gifted footballer, and is certainly amongst the top 20 footballers in the world today. However, as a goalscorer, I feel that he pales in comparison to my beloved Fernando Torres.”- Amen

  • Michael says:

    He isn’t frequently on penalty kicks.

    Didier Drogba 3 PL medals, three FA Cups, two League Cups.


  • Bill says:


    I agree with you that Torres is better but, so what?

    I assume you are an adult – this my striker/dad etc. is better/bigger than yours is for children in the playground.

    Please, as one LFC fan to another, grow up, mate.

  • Sean says:

    As a Chelsea fan I admire Torres for his finnesse and his overall goalscoring ability. He is a great player. But, on Drogba’s day he is unplayable. His strength is phenominal. He has two golden boots in english football to his name. The difference is, Torres came to Liverpool and hit the ground running, Drogba took a few seasons to adopt into what he is now which explains why he has not scored more goals. Drogba has scored against all the big teams, he basically won us the title last year and this season he has started as the best player in the world right now, I know the Spanish league is only one game in but Drogba’s performances have been fantastic and now he has adapted his game I expect him to be the difference again and complete his hatrick of golden boots. I would still have Drogba over Torres, Torres scores a lot of goals but is also injury prone.

  • Sean says:

    plus Drogba creates so much for over players like Lamps and Malouda and I think his assists last year where up right near the top, which makes him more complete.

  • Chris says:

    Take into account also that he is far from the only goal source. With lampard anelka malouda and shevchenko. The only other goal source worth mentioning is gerrard at liverpool. In addition to the fact that drogba very rarely takes penalties, he had 14 glorious assists last year. But for 2 years ago anelka was topscorer in the epl. If drogba was the only one except lampard scoring more than 4-5 goals a season i have no doubt he would be outscoring torres.

  • Joe says:

    Obviously fernando torres is better then drogba. that’s the fact.

  • pete borota says:

    Great bit of analysis, but utterly irrelevant as number 9’s key role is to be the focal point of attack and bring his team into play.

    Drogba is a monster of a player who is the most rounded and complete forward on the planet. To focus on their ability to score goals masks their impact to lead and drive their team mates forward.

    Because of Drogba, Chelsea can play long when needed or use a short game to mix it up.

    Torres is a world class goal scorer but overall his contribution to the team does not match Drogba’s.

  • Kopite says:

    Drogba is better imvho, and im a pool fan. he contributes more to chelsea than torres does to us, drogba holds up play, sets up goals, sets up chances and scores, where as torres scores and thats it. drogba is less injury prone aswell. weather you like it or not, drogba is the better player.

  • Zarif says:

    Thanks for your comments/feedback people.

    As a general rule of thumb, I’m pretty sure that most fans of clubs will say that they have (at least) one striker, who’s main job is to score the goals. Whilst attacking as a focal point and bringing one’s team into play is an important job of the ‘number nine’, scoring the goals is definitely the main priority.

    Whilst the role of the centre-forward is evolving, and that of attacking players is ever morphing, I still feel that the best way of valuing a primary striker’s worth is by comparing goalscoring rate statistics.

  • Bayo, Ibadan, Nigeria says:

    Your argument is not really clear. I am not interested in your stats. But from my own point of view a neutral fan, I believe Drogba is a better option in a team. Though Torres is a good goal scorer, Drogba is my type of complete striker. He leads the team, very strong, creating for others, scoring, defending and also good at spot kicks & free kicks. You hardly can pin him down. Despite Torres ability he is easily pinned down in matches especially against strong opposition. If by statistics also, kindly add trophies as well…

  • Jim says:

    Both have the same strike-rate in their career but you don´t have included torres statistics from atletico.

    And who cares about the past?
    It is important who is know the best.

    And now Drogba has outscored Torres in the last 60 games

    Drogba: 60 goals in his last 60 games for club and country

    Torres: 30 goals in his last 60 games for club and country

  • Liam says:

    What happens when you look at assists also??

  • Farty Foulke says:


    Presenting flat goalscoring statistics without weighting provides proof of nothing. How many of the goals were match-winners, equalisers, only goals etc, and how many games against top sides?

    You also ignored assists, aids, free kicks/penalties won etc from your stats. I’m not sure these would favour DD by the way, just indicating that your one-club-golfer approach is largely meaningless.

    Nor do statistics take into account how Didier can intimidate and wear down opponents with his power and constant pressure; not attributes associated with the poacher Torres – and we were talking about the better ‘footballer’ not goalscorer.

    In any case, I know who of the two I would rather have in my starting XI. And it isn’t Carragher’s bit-on-the-side.

  • harry says:

    Mate, no.s don tell the story take for example if torres plays more games ,his average goals/game will come down. It s not just about the no.of winner medals ,torres is an excellent footballer and so is drogba. It will be interesting to see where torres will be at 32. We are talking about a striker who is 32 and at peak of his career still.

  • Ricky says:

    Chelsea fan here. Well what you ignoring is the fact that Drogba assists almost 25-30 goals per season. How many Torres creates?? Drogba, defends on the set pieces. Torres, he hardly seen on defensive duty. Drogba can terrorize defenders…Torres well not so sure. I have to admit Torres is more clinical in front of the goal than Drogba. But, I would not swap any player for the Beasty DD.

  • Zarif says:

    Yeah, I suppose you may also want to consider that DD was a bit of a late bloomer to some extent; he didn’t really start pulling up trees until his season at Marseille. You could then argue that he didn’t really hit form at Chelsea until 2006/07 – I distinctly remember him being a figure of mirth and ridicule prior to this season.

    owever, Torres is THIS good at 26 (he was 23/24 during his first season at Anfield when he bagged 33 in 46), IF he steers clear of severe injuries, he could end up having another six years at the top of his game.

  • Zarif says:

    Bayo, I’m sure Nemanja Vidic will disagree with your view that Torres is easily pinned down by strong opposition…

  • adam says:

    I didn’t read the Alex Monteath piece myself, but it seems that he claims that Drogba is a better footballer, while you claim Torres is a better goalscorer. There’s a difference in definition between footballer and goalscorer.

    Now, undeniably, Torres obviously scores more goals per game than Drogba, no question about it. But wouldn’t it be more accurate comparing their goals from the season Torres joined Liverpool (2007/2008) and onwards (basing “more accurate” on them playing the same opposition)? Obviously it being “Torres’s first season in a new league” will skew the data, but either way that doesn’t change much, Torres still comes ahead with a 0.62 goals per game compared to Drogba’s 0.56 goals per game.

    One thing you haven’t mentioned though, is assists. I know, I know. A striker’s main job is to put the ball into the net, but surely making assists is a part of being a good footballer, and Drogba is ahead in that department. For the past three seasons since Torres joined Liverpool, he has produced 12 assists (according to for Liverpool, while Drogba has made 27 for Chelsea, a statistic worthy of being considered.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong. Torres, as proven by stats, is a better goalscorer then Drogba, but is he a better footballer (as Alex Monteath seems to have claimed Drogba was)? I’m just playing Devil’s advocate, I’m not saying either is better. They’re both obviously top players in the world and fan favourites, long may it be.

    P.S: Drogba doesn’t frequently take penalty kicks. Lampard and Ballack, before he was released, were both ahead of him at taking them.

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