Former Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata says it was always his intention to play for city rivals Atletico Madrid. Morata was on Atletico’s books as a youngster and even acted as a ball boy for the club, but it was across the capital at Madrid where he broke through as a professional footballer.
The Spain striker, who had a successful two-year spell at Juventus, joined Chelsea from Madrid in 2017 and became the Blues’ club-record signing. After making a strong start at Stamford Bridge, a back injury contributed to Morata subsequently struggling at Chelsea and he slipped down the pecking order after last week’s arrival of Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juve.
The 26-year-old had reached personal terms with the Liga side last week, with the player set to accept a pay cut on his current £120.000 per week wages upon the activation of Atleti’s option to purchase.
And Atletico have confirmed that the Spain international has completed a medical and signed on for the rest of this season and the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign. Although his professional breakthrough came at city rivals Real Madrid, Morata spent four years at Atletico as a youth academy player.
After two spells with Real, which were sandwiched by an impressive period at Juventus, Morata joined Chelsea in 2017 and enjoyed a bright start to life in the Premier League, scoring 10 times in the first half of his first season. The forward soon began to struggle with injuries and poor form, however, as he netted just once more for the rest of 2017-18.
Player first reaction
“In my career, it is a dream come true”, Morata told Atletico’s club website. “When I was young I saw all the Atletico legends and the other players of La Liga. It’s very important for me and it means a lot because I always wanted to play for Atletico Madrid – it’s a very special day for me. I know Atletico: what it means, this club, this name. I already know the club inside”, he added.