Alvaro Morata may have replaced Diego Costa at Chelsea, but can he become the main man in Spain’s starting XI?
Morata has been praised after his sublime performance in the 2-1 win against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
‘He scored and he threatened every time he touched the ball,’ said ‘Marca’. ‘Rapidisimo’ (no translation needed) was the word used over and again by ‘AS’.
Chelsea’s record signing netted the equaliser before Michy Batshuayi scored the winner with the last touch of the game to cap off a sensational night at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Morata had played against Atletico six times before last night’s meeting, but had never scored. Now, the 24-year-old is thriving under Antonio Conte, a coach who has full trust in him.
Having spent too long as a supersub, Morata is ready to make up for lost time and push his name into the limelight for both Chelsea and Spain.
Julen Lopetegui now faces a selection headache as to who he will start up top for the national side. Morata or Costa?
Costa’s return to the Spanish capital has pleased many Atletico fans, but even they would probably select Morata over their returning talisman in a hypothetical Spain XI for the World Cup next summer.
Asked about the prospect of competing with Costa for the Spain centre-forward’s job, Morata said ahead of the Atletico game: ‘If he comes back, I will be delighted. We will have a lot of laughs.’
‘If’ is the crucial word in Morata’s answer. Lopetegui will not be picking Costa in October because he is nowhere near match fitness.
However, when he does return, Costa ability to bully defenders, finish and work hard for the team will surely prove an asset for the Spanish national team.