Morata before semi: 'No respect' for me in Spain

Spain captain Álvaro Morata has said it’s “probable” that Euro 2024 is his last tournament with his country and again raised the prospect of leaving Atlético Madrid, saying “in Spain there’s no respect for anything or anyone.”

Morata, 31, has started four of Spain’s five games at the Euros so far, scoring in their 3-0 group-stage win over Croatia, and is expected to feature as his side face France in Tuesday’s semifinal in Munich.

The forward, who said last month that it would be “easiest” for him to play abroad because of the way fans have treated him and his family, appeared to confirm last week that he would be staying at Atlético, saying he “won’t stop” until he’s won trophies with the club.

“It could be [my last tournament with Spain],” Morata told the newspaper El Mundo on Monday. “It’s a possibility that I don’t want to talk about too much, but it’s probable.”

Morata — who played for Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea before first joining Atlético in 2019 — has had a difficult relationship with some Spain supporters.

He was whistled at times by home fans during Spain’s Euro 2020 campaign, and again at the Bernabéu during a friendly with Brazil in March this year.

“In Spain it’s hard for me to be happy,” Morata said. “Without doubt [I’m happier outside of Spain]. I’ve said it many times. Above all, because people respect me. In Spain there’s no respect for anything or anyone.”

Morata will be available to play against France after initial, erroneous reports had suggested he received a yellow card after being substituted in Spain’s 2-1 quarterfinal win over Germany.

“The other day, people said I was crying [on the touchline] because I’d been given a yellow card,” Morata said. “What nonsense is that! I was crying because my country, with me as captain, had got into the semifinals. I could never criticise someone who was crying because of that. But I’m criticised, when I’d cut my hand off to win the Euros.”

“I try to enjoy this tournament, which could be my last games with the national team, and in the future, what will be, will be,” he said. “Maybe one day they’ll even miss me. Each day, the moment for leaving is closer, that’s why I enjoy it, that’s why I cry, that’s why I’ll cry at whatever comes next, for good or bad.”

Morata had been linked with a move away from Atlético this summer after publicly questioning the club’s faith in him, but appeared to put those rumors to bed with last week’s post on social media. He told El Mundo he still has doubts, citing a recent experience where friends of his “had problems” for wearing shirts with his name on.

“It isn’t nice,” he said. “That’s why I still think, although I’m focused on the Euros, that I don’t know if it’s best for me to stay in Spain … I’ve said I’m dying to win trophies with Atlético, but then you have to weigh up if it’s worth it or not.”

“In football, nothing is certain,” Morata added in an interview with El Desmarque.

“[Staying at Atlético] is my opinion from the bottom of my heart, but as I’ve often said, at times for me, being in Spain is difficult.

“I’m sick of talk that I’m playing the victim, that I’m complaining … I just want this to end in the best way possible and enjoy it, because this could be my last tournament with the national team.”

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