Alvaro Morata 'staying put at Madrid'
Carlo Ancelotti says reported Arsenal and Liverpool target Alvaro Morata will not leave Real Madrid during the January transfer window.
Morata, 21, has featured rarely for Madrid in recent months, and occasional hints at his unhappiness with such a peripheral role have fed speculation that he is keen on a loan move away from the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to gain regular first-team football.
Ancelotti has, however, maintained all along that he wants to keep the Spain U21 international until the end of the season, with a potential loan move for the 2014-15 campaign more of a possibility.
And the Italian once again told his postmatch news conference after Thursday’s routine 2-0 Copa del Rey last-16 first-leg win over Osasuna at the Bernabeu that the young striker -- who got 10 minutes as a substitute in the game -- was going nowhere for now.
“We have not changed our plan,” Ancelotti said. “Furthermore, Morata has not asked to leave. I am very happy with him.”
Ancelotti also said he was happy to be taking a two-goal advantage into next week’s second leg in Pamplona.
“2-0 is a good result, we tried to score the third and came close,” he said. “We need to go out there to play because the second leg will not be easy. It is a good result but we will not be thinking about getting a 0-0.”
Thursday’s game again reinforced how Jese Rodriguez, a year younger than Morata, is now Madrid’s first-choice backup attacker, with the Canary Islander starting the game and scoring a first Bernabeu goal before going off injured late on.
“[Jese] played well, worked hard, scored and was involved in the match,” Ancelotti said. “He is an important player and is in good form and we have to make the most of that. He only came off because of a cramp."
Gareth Bale completing 90 minutes and looking sharp after his recent fitness issues was another bonus, Ancelotti added.
“Everyone knows that [Bale] has had problems,” he said. “He needs to get back to his best and that is why he played the entire match. He did not participate as much in the first half but was more open and looking to create more attacks in the second. We are all very happy. He had a problem for 20 days and is looking to get to his best.”
Angel Di Maria, who will face no action following accusations that he made an offensive gesture to Madrid fans who whistled him during Monday’s 3-0 La Liga home win over Celta Vigo, spent all of Friday’s game watching from the bench.
“We didn’t need Di Maria because the wingers did very well,” Ancelotti said. “Bale did very well and was dangerous, while Jese and Cristiano [Ronaldo] combined well.”