Football: Alonso says Morata will be a hit at Stamford Bridge

MARCOS ALONSO
MARCOS ALONSO

Strong like Costa, Spaniard is 'good for EPL' as Chelsea chase glory on European front as well

Set to be signed by Chelsea for an initial £58 million (S$103 million), Alvaro Morata will face the daunting prospect of filling Diego Costa's boots.

The Real Madrid forward has the backing of at least one Chelsea player, with the club's left-back Marcos Alonso vouching for his pedigree yesterday in an exclusive interview with The Straits Times.

"Alvaro is a very good player who has had success in Italy (with Juventus) and Spain and now it's time for him to show us what he can do here and hopefully score lots of goals," said Alonso, who has known his fellow Spaniard since both were youth players in Real Madrid's academy.

"Like Costa, he is very strong physically, which is good for the (English) Premier League."

Morata will join a team in transition, who are also preparing for a league title defence and a return to Champions League football after a one-year hiatus.

Club legend John Terry departed Stamford Bridge earlier this month for Championship side Aston Villa, with the out-of-favour Costa, who scored 20 league goals last term, also likely to make his exit.

Alonso acknowledged that the team would have a target on their backs from the outset.

He said: "It's going to be like the last part of last season when other teams considered us the team to beat, and we have to live with that. We've got to be prepared to work even harder this season."

The squad will also have to deal with the increased workload that comes from European competition.

"We will need a lot of players, maybe more than last year, and we're going to have to be ready in terms of fitness," said Alonso, who featured 35 times for Chelsea in all competitions last season.

TOUGHER SEASON

We will need a lot of players, maybe more than last year, and we're going to have to be ready in terms of fitness.

MARCOS ALONSO, on Chelsea's challenges next season. Their return to the Champions League means they will have to battle on an extra front in the new term.

"It's up to us to show the manager that we want to play every game."

The former Bolton man was speaking from Beijing, where Chelsea are on their pre-season Asia tour and take on Arsenal in a friendly tomorrow.

EQUAL TREATMENT

For sure we will make him sing, so we'll see. I sang a Spanish song. It wasn't so bad - many of the others didn't understand what I was singing anyway.

ALONSO, on Morata being required to sing in front of everyone after he signs for Chelsea.

Singapore is the next stop, with the Blues set to play German giants Bayern Munich at the National Stadium next Tuesday, before taking on Serie A side Inter Milan four days later. Alonso admitted that he has never been to the Republic, and does not know what to expect.

"(But) I've heard a lot of good words about Singapore and already a lot of fans have been messaging me on social media so I'm looking forward to playing here," he said.

As for Morata, he could yet join up with the rest of the squad in Singapore when, like any other new signing at Chelsea, he will be required to sing a song in front of his new team-mates.

"For sure we will make him sing, so we'll see," said Alonso, who was signed last year from Italian Serie A side Fiorentina for £24 million.

"I sang a Spanish song. It wasn't so bad - many of the others didn't understand what I was singing anyway."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2017, with the headline 'Alonso tips Morata to be a hit at the Bridge'. Print Edition | Subscribe