Morata: "It was my destiny to play for Conte – I knew we'd get back together. He went to the death for me"
Both Morata and Everton marksman Romelu Lukaku were on the wishlists of the two Premier League rivals over the summer. But while the Red Devils won the battle to sign the Belgian, the west Londoners made sure they got their man from Real Madrid.
The Spanish striker is already proving his worth following the £65 million deal, scoring seven goals in his opening seven Premier League and Champions League outings – including a hat-trick in Chelsea’s 4-0 drubbing of Stoke at the end of September.
It was my destiny to play for Antonio Conte. After bringing me to Juventus before he joined Italy, I always thought that we would get back together. He’s gone to the death for me
Morata, who has featured in three of the last four Champions League finals and scored in the 2015 showpiece in Berlin, briefly worked with Conte at Juventus before the latter left the Old Lady to take charge of the Italian national team in 2014.
And it was Conte’s determination to be reunited with the Spain international that convinced Morata to leave his home city, where he had been on the books of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Getafe.
His is a huge assist, if you like, for me coming to Chelsea, because I really wanted to renew that relationship with him and repay all the faith that he’s shown in me. I’ve already improved so much under him here
Speaking exclusively in the December 2017 issue of FourFourTwo, Morata reveals: “Chelsea made the biggest effort to sign me and I’m so happy to be here. It was my destiny to play for Antonio Conte.
"After bringing me to Juventus before he joined Italy in 2014, I always thought that we would get back together. He’s gone to the death for me. His is a huge assist, if you like, for me coming to Chelsea, because I really wanted to renew that relationship with him and repay all the faith that he’s shown in me. I’ve already improved so much under him.”
The chance to be a team’s undisputed first-choice striker was also a decisive factor, with Chelsea in need of a replacement for Atletico Madrid-bound Brazilian Diego Costa.
Having often had to play second fiddle at both Real Madrid and Juventus, Morata says the time was right for him to finally establish himself as the go-to goal-getter at a club.
This is perhaps the first time in my senior career that I have started five matches in a row or felt like the No.1 striker at a club – it's what I needed this year
“This is perhaps the first time in my senior career that I've started five matches in a row, or felt like the No.1 striker at a club,” the Spaniard says. “Any coach who gives you that support gives you so much confidence – it’s what I needed this year.
“It’s a big responsibility being the main centre-forward at Chelsea, because you’re the team’s referente – the reference point. You support every attacking move, because they look to get the ball into your feet or into the channels.
“The tactical system here is even more complete than when I was at Juventus, which was based on what Conte left behind. It’s all about maintaining the team’s rhythm and tactics. You don’t have much time to think and you must learn quickly.”
Read the full interview with Alvaro Morata in the December 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine – a strikers special in which we also interview Gabriel Jesus and count down the 30 greatest Premier League forwards ever. Also this month, we meet the father and son working wonders at Harrogate Town, go One-on-One with Dani Alves, find out if 3G pitches are the future of the Football League, and hear about the turmoil Tony Adams went through before, during and after Euro 96. Order a copy now, and then subscribe!