Morata performs u-turn

Alvaro Morata went back on his words in an interview with Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport about the "stress" he has faced in London since his summer move from Real Madrid. The Spaniard admitted, however, that he probably won't live i
Alvaro Morata went back on his words in an interview with Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport about the "stress" he has faced in London since his summer move from Real Madrid. The Spaniard admitted, however, that he probably won't live in London after his playing career is over.PHOTO: REUTERS

Chelsea striker denies he's unsettled in London, vows to score more goals

LONDON • Alvaro Morata has insisted he is happy at Chelsea after appearing to suggest in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport that he pines for Italy and finds life in London "too much stress".

The Spain forward, who spent two seasons at Italian champions Juventus, signed a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge in the summer after joining for a club-record initial fee of £58 million (S$104.7 million) from Real Madrid.

After he hinted over the weekend at being unsettled, his attempts to demonstrate a desire to make a success of life at Chelsea led him to end his Champions League press conference at the Olympic Stadium, where his team took on Roma this morning (Singapore time), by claiming he would be willing to sign for 10 years with the Premier League club if offered.

"I want to say again that we had a problem of understanding in this interview," said the 25-year-old, who was born in Madrid and had two spells at Real. "If Chelsea proposed me 10 years, I'd probably sign that too. I'm happy with this club, in this city, with everything in London.

"But I need to score many goals otherwise Chelsea will buy another player. It's normal."

The striker scored seven goals in his first seven games for Antonio Conte's side only for a thigh injury, suffered against Manchester City, to disrupt his rhythm.

"I wanted to say, probably in the future when I finish in my career, I won't live in London," he added.

NO BLUES AT CHELSEA

If Chelsea proposed me 10 years, I'd probably sign that too. I'm happy with this club, in this city, with everything in London.

ALVARO MORATA, Spain striker, on his desire to make his Chelsea stint a success.

"But now, at the moment, I'm very happy in London and enjoy living in London with my wife. When I say it's a stressful city, I'm only talking about the traffic and that there are a lot of people there."

He had conducted the interview with Gazzetta post-match at Bournemouth, where Chelsea won 1-0 on Saturday. When asked about life in England, he had suggested he did not see himself "living in London for very long".

He has settled in Chelsea, in the same apartment block in which Conte lived last season, but has found the capital "too big, too much stress, too much of a metropolis".

Morata, who is married to an Italian, also spoke fondly of his time at Juve, where he was signed by Conte in the summer of 2014.

"The disappointment (of leaving Juve) was enormous and I found myself back to the starting point," he told Gazzetta. "Italy, for a Spaniard, is the best country to live. You have everything: beauty, history, art, cooking, fashion. I would never have left Italy and Juve."

While Morata has set the record straight, Chelsea are working on keeping another Spain international at Stamford Bridge. They are ready to offer Cesc Fabregas a new contract amid renewed interest from Manchester United.

The midfielder, who has 18 months left on his Blues deal, appeared to have little future at Chelsea when Conte joined the club. At the start of last season, he was relegated to the substitutes' bench, with N'Golo Kante preferred in midfield.

But the 30-year-old made a significant impact in helping Chelsea win the league title in the second half of last season and he has played more minutes this season than any of the club's other midfielders, starting eight of their 10 league matches.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2017, with the headline 'Morata performs u-turn'. Print Edition | Subscribe