Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata accepts his Real Madrid past is a problem for some Rojiblanco fans, but “not even Jesus Christ was liked by everyone.”
Morata joined Atletico from Chelsea in January on an 18 month-loan deal, with some supporters at the Wanda Metropolitano having protested against the idea, but coach Diego Simeone stood firm in his wish to bring the Spain international back to his boyhood club.
Speaking to AS before Atleti’s 2-0 win over Juventus in Wednesday’s Champions League round-of-16 first leg, Morata said that while some fans were still getting used to his arrival, his new teammates had been very welcoming.
“You cannot be liked by everyone, everywhere,” Morata said. “Not even Jesus Christ was liked by everyone. My teammates and the club have taken me in very well and I appreciate that. It is other people who are more angry with me. I could have signed for other teams and many teammates know I have given up things to be here.”
There had long been speculation that Simeone wanted Morata at Atletico.
“The truth is that three and a half years ago [summer 2015] was the first contact,” Morata revealed. “I gave him my word that when I could, I would come here. It was not possible before, and did not depend just on me. But I had given my word. Now it could happen and I will give everything for the jersey.”
Morata admitted that learning what Simeone required from his forwards would take some time.
“This is the perfect team for me,” he said. “I like to run, to defend, to be a nuisance. It is not easy to immediately learn the concepts of a team like Atletico. It seems easy from outside, like you just have to run, but you have to know what you are doing, tactically. I am picking it up as best I can, for sure I will get better.”
Morata has made a habit of scoring against his former clubs — finding the net at the Bernabeu as Juventus knocked Real out of the Champions League in the 2015 semifinals, and scoring in Chelsea’s late win at the Wanda in last season’s group stage.
“How could I not celebrate my first goal with Atletico?” he said when asked about potentially scoring against Juve on Wednesday. “Maybe there [in Turin], out of respect, I would not do it. Juventus are my Italian team, I respect their fans a lot. Just as the Juventus fans would understand if I celebrate here, so would those from Atletico about not celebrating there.”
Former teammate Leonardo Bonucci joked that he is looking forward to “giving his old friend a kicking” when they meet again on the pitch.
“First I have to be on the pitch, then they can do with me what they like,” Morata said. “If they are kicking me it would be a good sign.”