Real Madrid president Florentino Perez called Alvaro Morata during the European Under-21 Championship to assure the tournament’s top scorer that he was staying at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu next season.
Centre-forward Morata played just 581 first-team minutes [across 15 games] for Madrid last term, although he did make key contributions including heading a late winning goal at Levante in November and providing the assist for Karim Benzema’s opener in the home ‘clasico’ against Barcelona in March.
These rare appearances have led to speculation that the Madrid-born attacker could be sent on loan next season to gain senior experience - or perhaps even sold in a deal including a buyback clause, as Madrid did successfully with Dani Carvajal who is now returning to the Bernabeu after a year in the Bundesliga at Bayer Leverkusen.
However, the 20-year-old told radio show El Larguero, after Spain’s 4-2 win over Italy in Tuesday’s Euros final, that both Perez and Blancos general director Jose Angel Sanchez had been on the phone during the tournament to assure him he was going nowhere.
“They called us from the club, the president and Jose Angel,” Morata said. “They wished me luck. The president said he was very happy with me and that I was staying next year.”
One persistent rumour around Spain was that Perez might try and use Morata as a makeweight in a deal with Malaga to sign his fellow starlet Isco, who is now set to decide between a move to Madrid or Manchester City after reportedly winning the U-21 tournament’s Player of the Tournament award.
Morata claimed that he and Carvajal had been working on the playmaker to ensure he decided to join them at the Bernabeu next term. “We are trying to convince Isco to come with us,” he joked.
Morata’s four goals in the tournament’s first four games - three off the bench - saw him claim its ‘Golden Boot’ award. Although he started the final against the Italians he did not add to his tally, but did get a superb assist when his cross set up Thiago Alcantara to head in the opener in a reversal of their typical roles within the team.
“The Golden Boot is really nice,” he said. “I have to thank with my team-mates for everything, it is all because of them. I am very happy. [Thiago] looked like the centre-forward, that’s true. But it went really well for us.”