Álvaro Morata and Juventus: New club, same old problem?

Alvaro Morata signing for Juventus

Real Madrid’s 2013-14 season was full of excitement as the historic Spanish club fought for honours under Carlo Ancelotti.

Despite being ousted by cross-town rivals Atlético in the La Liga title race, Los Blancos claimed the all-illusive Decima by beating Diego Simeone’s charges in the final of the Champions League.

Add to this Copa del Rey glory, overcoming Barcelona to win the cup competition, and there were plenty of reasons for Madrid’s players and fans to celebrate.

Of the player base, Álvaro Morata should have had reason to celebrate more than most; the gifted centre forward joined the Santiago Bernabéu side’s youth ranks as a teenager and as such will have had a strong bond to the club.

However, instead the young Spaniard will have been left deflated at his lack of first-team football and has since secured a €20 million move to Italian powerhouses Juventus.

Morata’s story in the Spanish capital is one of real promise but a lack of opportunities. He did not feature in the finals of either of the competitions Madrid won last term and instead had to watch on from the sidelines.

In total, after making his league debut for Madrid in December 2010, Morata was only ever trusted to start eight La Liga games during his time in the senior set-up at the Bernabéu – despite Karim Benzema’s questionable form at times over this spell.

The prodigious Spain under-21 striker will have considered his future carefully over the summer given that plenty of clubs across the continent will have been keeping a close eye on him.

In the end, a move to Turin is an exciting one for Morata but the attacker may rediscover the same issues in Italy that forced him to seek a transfer in the first place.

In winning their third consecutive Scudetto last term, Juventus boasted a settled and prolific strike force in the form of Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente.

Álvaro MorataThe old-fashioned little and large pairing played havoc among Serie A backlines, with the former Athletic Bilbao targetman and Argentine livewire combining to great effect.

The duo hit 35 goals between them in Serie A and as such there seems little reason for new manager Massimiliano Allegri to break up this proven partnership.

Tevez seems guaranteed a place in the side given his talismanic presence, individual ability and unique skillset of playing in the second striker role.

As such, for Morata to play regularly it appears that he must oust compatriot Llorente from the side.

The 29-year-old had a slow start to life with the Bianconeri last term, but after establishing a place in the team was an important asset to the club’s title challenge, netting 16 goals along the way.

Although Fabio Quagliarella has been sold to Torino and Mirko Vučinić has made a bizarre move to the Middle East, Morata is not by any means guaranteed to even be first choice back-up to Tevez and Llorente.

Sebastian Giovinco’s future has been a source of contention for some time but the Italy international remains at Juventus, while promising Australian attacker James Triosi will also vie for a place in the team.

That said, Morata has the potential to be a real success in Turin and has shown at national age-grade level that he can consistently score goals.

He will look to the example of Paul Pogba as inspiration after the French midfielder left a major European club out-of-favour, only to establish himself at Juventus.

However, the mission for Morata is transition to senior football and to show his ability at the highest level; getting the opportunity to play consistently will be the Spaniard’s first challenge.

I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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