Some football fans have been left scratching their head about Alvaro Morata this summer. How could someone who wasn’t even a regular starter for his club in 2016/17 potentially be sold for £60m or more, making him one of the most expensive players of all time?
Morata was on the verge of joining Manchester United earlier this month in a deal that could even have topped £70m, and will almost certainly command a £60m fee should he possibly join Chelsea or AC Milan in what remains of the summer.
Yet the striker, billed as a superstar of the future, was a fringe player for Real Madrid in their La Liga and Champions League double winning season.
He played only 26 times in La Liga, with a 29-year-old Karim Benzema who only scored 11 times in the league over the course of the campaign usually preferred from the start.
Crucially, what Morata did was score when he had the chance, he just didn’t have the chance very often – it was supposed assurance from Jose Mourinho he would be leading the line in Manchester, before the plug was pulled, that is said to have made him keen on United.
Of all the goalscorers to have scored at least times in La Liga last season, Morata was second only to European Golden Shoe winner Lionel Messi in terms of his return in relation to minutes on the pitch.
Álvaro Morata: Only Lionel Messi (every 76.5 mins) scored more frequently than Morata (every 88.7 mins) in La Liga last season (5+ goals) pic.twitter.com/fCwQZtkhVS
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 17, 2017
Morata netted once every 88.7 minutes he played to reach his final tally of 15. It begs the question what he might have produced had he been on the pitch more. For Messi it was every 76.5 minutes as he struck 37 times to lead the whole continent.
Morata hasn’t had his chance yet, but surely he has shown that he deserves it.