Madrid: Alvaro Morata has fond memories of the time he was a ball boy at Atletico Madrid’s old Vicente Calderon Stadium.
So much so that he still owns one of the vests he used to wear during matches.
“Every time I see a ball boy, I see myself in him,” the striker said. “And when I was not a ball boy, I was in the stands watching Atletico. I used to dream of one day being on the field and playing.”
The dream is coming true for Morata. Atletico signed him on Monday to an 18-month loan from Chelsea, ending his miserable stay in English soccer following a club-record move from Real Madrid for $75 million.
The 26-year-old Spaniard passed his medical exam on Sunday in Madrid.
Morata is returning to the club where he also started playing as a child.
“I’m very happy and proud to be here,” he said. “I can’t wait to start practising with my teammates and to start playing.”
Morata had his first training session with Atletico on Monday.
He played in Atletico’s youth programme before joining Real Madrid’s academy in 2008. He eventually became a first-team player for Real Madrid and helped it win two Champions League titles.
His links to Real Madrid caused some Atletico fans to protest against the transfer. Part of the crowd attending the team’s 2-0 win over Getafe on Saturday criticised Morata’s signing.
Financial details of the transfer were not immediately released.
Morata spent a year-and-a-half with Chelsea, his last appearance on January 5 in the FA Cup where he scored both goals against Nottingham Forest in a 2-0 win.