It is well documented that the world of professional football can be a tough business to break into, from gruelling years of slogging it in reserves going all the way back to the nerves of being scouted by a club’s youth academy.
These can all weigh heavy on a player as they come through the ranks of a football club and the situation is no different for Alvaro Morata, who opened up about his past in a recent interview with Spanish outlet Marca.
The 25-year-old, who started his career at Atletico Madrid’s youth academy in the early 2000’s, originally wanted to commit his long-term future to the club, before moving to Getafe and finally Real Madrid’s academy, where he began his long road to stardom.
"I started at Atlético and it went very well,” Morata said, “until at one point I started not to enjoy football so much, because I did not play much.
“I did not have a good relationship with my teammates, except with Koke and a few others. I wanted to play at Atlético, but I did not have fun.
“It is essential to have fun at youth level, but I thought ‘if I do not play 14-15 years for Atleti, I’m just not good enough.’
“In the end I started having fun the following year. I've seen many players better than me, but they were too obsessed and above all they did not have a family behind me like mine.”
Later in his career, the Chelsea striker had dealings with Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho, whilst the Portuguese manager was heading Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013.
"To the homegrown players he tried to take care of us a lot. Jose gave me my first big contract in Madrid.
“Soon after, he called me after a bad training session and he told me ‘if you ride it well, you aren’t going to have to work in your life, but now you have to choose how far you want to go, so get to work well. “
But Morata’s time at Los Blancos went much the same way of other Real youth graduates, as he followed the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Roberto Soldado to find greener pastures away from the Madrid bench.
"I did not ask to be a starter in Madrid, I know that those that do are from another planet, but in the end, I did not play in the Champions League, no match against Barça, no match against Atlético, no match against Sevilla, against Valencia.
“I would have loved to play everything in Madrid, but due to circumstances you can’t, and life is not over. Madrid is always there.”