Fresh from his late appearance in the Champions League Final on Saturday night, Álvaro Morata is reported to be keen on signing a new contract extension with Real Madrid.
After replacing Toni Kroos with only a couple of minutes left, Morata was on the pitch to play his part in the final and feels he wants to stay at the club and fight for a starting place next term.
As we know from the season just ended, though, Zinedine Zidane’s whole philosophy is all about interchanging and having a deep squad of players he can call on at any time. Even if that’s not always dictated purely by who the opposition are, there will be certain starters he will always favour.
Álvaro Morata’s aim is to be one of those.
Although seemingly happy enough to fall in with Zidane’s way of thinking, Morata always gives the impression that he would prefer to see his name in the starting eleven as opposed to the squad. He’s not going to be alone in thinking that way either; but football today is all about teamwork and for Zidane a team consists of more than eleven players.
Álvaro Morata has an important summer ahead. Apart from the contract issue, he’s also getting married in a fortnight’s time to his fiancée Alice Campello and the nature of the wedding celebrations on the actual day might well depend on whether he agrees a deal with Real Madrid or not.
Álvaro has let it be known that if he manages to come to an agreement with Real over making a long-term commitment to the club, then he would like the guest of honour at his forthcoming wedding to be none other than the Champions League trophy itself!
In that respect he’s following Betis legend Joaquín Sánchez who did a similar thing in 2005 by having the Copa del Rey present at his own wedding after the Verdiblancos had just beaten Osasuna in the final at the Vicente Calderón.
Álvaro referred to this at the weekend in an interview reported by numerous media sources and Joaquín will likely be flattered by Álvaro mentioning it.
Joaquín himself was linked with Real Madrid around that particular period; and has often talked freely about how approaches were made to Betis via his agent but in the end decided that he wanted to remain in Sevilla.
Joaquín recalls that he was happy at Betis at the time before moving on at a later date to Valencia, Málaga and then Fiorentina before coming back to Betis in 2015.
On his return from Fiorentina the detractors, albeit few and far between, queried the wisdom of Betis signing an attacking player approaching his middle-thirties; far less one who would be expected to get up and down the flank the way he did in his previous spell at the club.
His undoubted presence though, reaches out to those around him; including Real Madrid target Dani Ceballos.
Although widely regarded as the stand-out player in the current Betis team, there’s no doubt that young Dani has benefitted from having had the experienced Joaquín alongside him as a steadying influence.
With a deal for Spanish under-21 Ceballos reported to be in the pipeline similar to that involving Marco Asensio, Dani would remain at Betis for the coming season just as Marco played out that first season at Mallorca after signing for at the Bernabéu.
If the new Betis coach, Quique Setién, formerly of Las Palmas decides to stick with the same format, then Joaquín will continue to have an influence on Madrid’s future midfielder; and why not? He’s obviously had an effect on Álvaro Morata’s wedding plans!