Morata looking to strike a blow for Juve - and Real Madrid

Reuters , Friday 5 Jun 2015

Juventus' Alvaro Morata celebrates winning the Italian Serie A after the match (Photo: Reuters)

Juventus forward Alvaro Morata seemed genuinely apologetic after he netted the goal that knocked his former club Real Madrid out in the Champions League semi-finals and he wants to try to make amends.

The 22-year-old Spain international scored in both legs of Juve's 3-2 aggregate success over the holders and is hoping to lead his side to victory against Real's bitter rivals Barcelona in Saturday's Champions League final.

Morata joined Juve for a fee of 20 million euros ($22.53 million) in the close season after finding himself surplus to requirements at Real and has played an important role in the Italian club's charge towards a possible treble of titles.

He netted eight goals in Serie A as Juve wrapped up a fourth consecutive title, two in their successful Coppa Italia campaign and has four so far in Europe's elite club competition, including his crucial strike at the Bernabeu last month.

The goal levelled the semi-final, second leg at 1-1 and ended the holders' dream of an 11th European crown following their 10th in 2013-14, when Morata was a second-half substitute in the final against Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.

On Saturday at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, he will bid to become only the fourth player to appear in Champions League final victories in successive seasons for different clubs, joining Marcel Desailly, Paulo Sousa and Samuel Eto'o.

"I will try to win, also because of what that would mean for Real fans," Morata, who joined Real's youth ranks in 2008, told reporters on Monday.

"Obviously scoring against Barcelona would not be as painful as it was scoring against Madrid but I need to actually score before thinking about celebrations," he added.

"I'm not going to say it's an extra motivation for me because you don't need extra motivation when you play a Champions League final, but facing Barca will always be special."

Biggest surprise

As well as becoming a key figure at Juve, Morata has started to make an impact for Spain following a highly successful run in La Roja's youth sides.

He starred in Spain's European Championship winning Under-19 and Under-21 teams, winning the Golden Boot award for the top scorer at each tournament.

He was hailed as "the future of La Roja" in March after he fired the European champions to a 1-0 win against Ukraine in Euro 2016 qualifying in Seville.

Morata made his league debut for Real in December 2010 under Jose Mourinho and went on to win one La Liga title, two King's Cups and a Spanish Super Cup as well as the Champions League.

His performances since joining Juve have impressed no less a figure than captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, although the World Cup winner with Italy in 2006 did hint that Morata still has a lot to learn.

"Morata has been the biggest surprise," Buffon said on on Wednesday.

"Now that I know him, I can say that if he matures in the right way and if he wants to put his professionalism to the benefit of the team and the profession, he can be the star of the next few years."

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