They say home is where the heart is and for Alvaro Morata, home remains Real Madrid.
Morata was born in Madrid. His footballing conquests began at quite an early age there. Atletico Madrid offered the young forward his first breakthrough in 2005, but it was at bitter rivals, Real Madrid that he actually sprung in to the limelight.
Being a native of Spain’s capital, there was always that extra drive to prove himself at home. Neither Rojiblancos nor Los Blancos offered that platform. Morata was forced to Getafe, still, in Madrid metropolitan area, after limited playing time at Ramon Calderon. In two years, he proved a potent forward. Real came knocking and he couldn’t resist.
Morata was only 12, so had to cut his teeth with the juvenile team. But after one year, it was apparent he was a mismatch for his peers. The young forward notched 34 goals as Real clinched two titles. He was immediately promoted to Castilla – the club’s second-string side.
His remarkable poacher’s artistry didn’t stop there. Morata averaged a goal in every two games in three years with the B-team. He made his first-team debut around that time. His 37 league appearances yielded 10 goals, yet Real didn’t think twice about letting him leave.
Morata continued his meteoric rise at Juventus. Fearless, brave and bold, the Spaniard took Italian football by storm. In two seasons there, he left an indelible legacy. Part of his motivation was to earn a return back home. Real kept track. They didn’t hesitate to trigger his buyout clause.
Back home, Morata was more matured and a complete package. Karim Benzema wasn’t delivering. He was expected to push away the French mercenary. Despite a superior return, however, it was the native who was farmed out again. This time to Chelsea.
Morata’s first Premier League season didn’t go as planned. Although he began firing on all cylinders, the goals withered as the campaign progressed. He became a shadow of his former self. His tactical awareness, positional sense and offensive movement all vanished. He struggled to reach double digits in the league.
This season, however, the 25-year-old is looking sharper than ever. Confidence and enthusiasm are sky high. Although he’s buried just one strike in four matches, the signs are positive. Maurizio Sarri’s attacking brand appears to have revived the forward.
“Is it better with Sarri than Conte? Yes, for the style of play. It [Conte’s gameplan] was not my style of play and I suffered a little,” he admitted. “In today’s world, it [criticism] is normal. Chelsea made a major effort for me and it was not returned.”
It is a truthful yet shocking assessment considering both enjoyed some incredible time in Italy which resulted in his homecoming. Yet again there are talks about a potential reunion with Real. Morata isn’t ruling the possibility especially after success with Moriano.
“I am happy at Chelsea but I have many years ahead in my career if God and injuries allow it. Mariano said Madrid never close the door and look what happened. You never know.
“I’m in Chelsea, not in a team that is very inferior. It is clear that Madrid are the best in the world and everyone wants to be there but I’m not envious [of Mariano].”
Only time will tell whether Morata will ditch Chelsea for his third Lol Blancos stint.