Unanimity in football is a forbidden fruit. Only a select few have tasted it. Players as special as Iniesta, for example, for whom it is difficult for anyone to blame him for anything. But they are very isolated cases. Neither has Messi ever enjoyed that precious asset, reviled for so many years in his native Argentina. At another level, but on the same side as La Pulga in this story, we find Álvaro Morata, one of the most discussed strikers the Spanish team has had but who tonight against Japan can continue making history, oblivious to outside noise.
With the round of 16 at stake, a round that Spain will reach with a draw –although a victory also guarantees him first place in the group–, the striker from Madrid has before him a unique opportunity to stamp his name among the greats.
After being left out of Lopetegui's list for Russia four years ago, a thorn he is trying to remove in Qatar, Morata is enjoying his first World Cup, a good state of mind that is reflected on the pitch. Even coming off the bench on both occasions, he has seen the net against Costa Rica and Germany, so against Japan he could seal a historic plenary session, only within the reach of a legend like Telmo Zarra. The Basque goalscorer scored against England, Chile and the United States in the three games of the first phase of the 1950 World Cup, in Brazil, a milestone that has not been reached since.
That a feat of this caliber was signed by Morata would have its intricacies, the man from Madrid has become for years the bag that receives all the blows despite wearing not inconsiderable numbers. The current Atlético de Madrid striker has already scored 29 goals with the Spain jersey and is the fifth all-time goalscorer for the national team, behind only Villa, Raúl, Torres and Silva.
With the arrival of Luis Enrique, Morata has established himself as the starting striker for Spain. Except for injury, his only two absences came in September and October 2020, but the coach got him back immediately and has trusted him since then. The best example came last year, when Morata ended up being the offensive banner of the red in the Euro Cup, a tournament that ended with three goals as the top scorer for his team.
Although he has not been part of the starting eleven in the two games played so far, the Madrid striker is experiencing a sweet moment and is a fundamental piece for Luis Enrique. “For us, the substitutes play a fundamental role, when other teams start to get confused we try to bring freshness and continue playing the same. In addition, I have even seen Morata play on the wing at Juve ”, stood out in the Spanish coach in the preview of the duel against Japan.
The mental aspect has been very present when evaluating Morata's performance almost since its inception, always too demanding of himself and little permeable to criticism. Everything has changed since a few years ago, when he started working with Adri, who to this day is still his coach and has taught him to deal with these kinds of problems. He now lives much happier and enjoys soccer. Adri has even traveled to Qatar and although he cannot access the meeting place, he has daily talks with the striker.
Morata has all the numbers to regain ownership against Japan. History awaits you.