Alvaro Morata says he knows why he has been the target of the boo boys during Euro 2020 but is not prepared to talk about the reasons until after Spain’s campaign is over.
The Juventus striker has scored twice during the tournament, including a fine effort that put Luis Enrique’s side back in front during extra time of the exhilarating 5-3 win over Croatia in the last 16.
At the same time, Morata has missed a glut of opportunities. Indeed, his six missed big chances – as defined by Opta – is the most of any player, and the return lower than an expected goals rate of 3.95.
More may also have been expected given Morata has had 15 shots in total (joint highest with Cristiano Ronaldo), eight of which have been on target – the joint-best with Patrik Schick, who has four goals to his name.
Morata’s indifferent finishing has led to heavy criticism from sections of the fan base, while the ex-Chelsea forward revealed his family had been the target of abuse and threats – actions head coach Luis Enrique rightly described as “criminal” and urged for police action to be taken.
He will have the opportunity to keep silencing his critics when Spain go up against Switzerland in the quarter-finals on Friday and Morata has no issue addressing his detractors when the time is right.
“I know the reason [why they keep booing me],” he told Deportes Cuatro. “I know it perfectly well and it isn’t very difficult to understand.
“When the European Championship finishes, if everything goes well, I will speak. I have no problem. I am fully aware why they boo me, of course.”
Spain’s eventual triumph over Croatia was an instant European Championship classic but Morata has not spent much time reviewing that game.
He added: “I haven’t watched [the goal] a lot.
“I really want to watch the match. I have seen highlights, but I want to watch it with the whole team to improve.
“It was a match of many emotions and it was good for people who watched it in television, but we lost control of the match twice and that can’t happen again.
“The [Croatia] match will be remembered as long as we keep winning.”
As well as having the unwavering support of his coach, Morata’s team-mates seemingly have full confidence in his ability to lead the line too.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta says Morata is going through similar experiences to Spanish greats David Villa and Fernando Torres but has already proven capable of handling the pressure.
“Alvaro is becoming more and more mature. He has received criticism, but he is the forward of the team,” Azpilicueta told Marca.
“It happened to Villa, to Fernando…it’s not easy. Alvaro has shown that he knows how to be and face the challenges that lay ahead.
“He has confidence in himself and not only because of the goal, but also because of the great game he played.”