Back when at Real Madrid, he was the future of the Santiago Bernabeu, and indeed of Spanish football. In 2012/13 he had made his breakthrough under Jose Mourinho, making regular appearances and even starting in el clasico, playing a key role in a 2-1 victory, and made 12 league appearances that year, netting twice.
2013/14 saw further progress, 23 league matches, scoring 8 goals as Carlo Ancelotti joined the club and Morata found his place in rotation with Karem Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Angel Di Maria and an emerging Isco – the fact Morata, in his early 20s, played so many games in this squad goes to show how highly rated he was., and he was a regular tip in the Betfred review.
Moving on from that Real Madrid side to Juventus for 20m Euros in 2014/15 was hardly a low point, but it was an indication that he may well have found his level, and it wasn’t in Madrid. At Juventus he impressed, winning two league titles and reaching the final of the Champions League, but despite this he scored eight and seven league goals in his two seasons.
But scoring record appears not to be the key asset that Morata held, and his general play impressed his old club Real Madrid enough that they bought him back for 30m Euros, where he enjoyed his best goalscoring season in 2016/17, with 15 league goals, before Chelsea spent 65m euros on him.
And predictably, he has not turned out to be the world class, 20-30 goal a year striker that the Blues crave, scoring 11 in his first season, and five so far this term.
So what is the deal with Morata – is he a 65m euro player, who should be judged on his all-round contribution, or is he a goalscoring striker – because at 26 years-old, it’s clear he is not the latter. He was apparently brought in to replace Diego Costa, yet replacing a proven goal-getter with an unproven striker was hopeful at best by the Chelsea management.
Morata’s trophy cabinet already includes 2x La Liga titles, 2x Serie A titles, 1x FA Cup, 2x Coppa Italia’s, 2x Spanish cups, and 4x Super Cups of various guises, but if his role is more a team player, helping to provide service to the main striker, that is something Chelsea already have in abundance, and it could signal the next move in Morata’s career come the summer.