Alvaro Morata has lifted the lid on the hellish experience he suffered at Chelsea, where he felt unappreciated by everyone at the club.
Chelsea signed Morata in 2017 to replace Diego Costa in a club-record deal of £60m from Real Madrid. However, he didn’t fit in at Stamford Bridge and became a forlorn figure in the squad.
The Spanish striker scored just 24 times in 72 outings before his nightmare in London ended in January when he sealed an 18-month loan switch to boyhood club Atletico Madrid.
Since returning to Spain, Morata began to show flashes of his old self and finished the season with six goals in 17 games for Atletico.
And now the 26-year-old has opened up on his horrible time at Chelsea and slammed Blues coach Maurizio Sarri for the broken promises he made to him.
“I had lost confidence in myself previously,” Morata told Goal.
”I was very upset by the opinion of the people in England. I think they caught me in the middle of everything.
“I didn’t quite feel loved or appreciated by the club or the fans. I started very well at Chelsea, but an injury, in the end, leaves you a bit stuck.
“As bad as it was, I still scored 15 goals and won the FA Cup… but I was out of the World Cup, and for me, that was the hardest thing that could happen to me in my life.
“I’ve dreamed of being able to play in a World Cup since I was 10 years old, and I chose Chelsea because I thought it would be the best club to later be able to play in the World Cup.
“Now, signing for Atletico has been the best thing that could happen to me in my life.
“I had a very bad time in London. In the end, I was training alone. I talked to Maurizio Sarri and he told me some things that I knew were not going to be as he had said. I was very nervous. My wife was in shock with me.”
Morata will remain at the Wanda Metropolitano until June 2020 and has already indicated a desire to remain beyond that deal.
And the Spain international will likely play a big role next season at Atletico given star forward Antoine Griezmann’s expected departure.
“I already knew that I could sign for Atletico if everything went well, and they had four games previously [before Morata officially signed for them on January 29]. I saw them all at home with my wife and she was amazed!” Morata added.
“She does not like football very much, and she did not understand how I could get like this, so crazy, watching Atletico games, screeching at home, nervous, when I was not an Atletico player yet.”
Upon arriving at Chelsea in 2017, Morata scored seven times in his opening eight matches under Antonio Conte. But hamstring and back problems soon hampered his progress at Stamford Bridge.
“It’s a story I’d like to tell very slowly in the future,” continued Morata.
“I went from being tied on the same amount of goals as [Mohamed] Salah and [Harry] Kane at the start of the first year, and people made a song about me, I could not even go out in London!
“And one day I get up with a shooting pain in my back, my level goes down, and they start telling me everything [referring to criticism about him] in England.
“You are supposed to be respected by fans, but you know…”