Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has been omitted from Julen Lopetegui’s World Cup squad for this summer’s trip to Russia. The former Real Madrid and Juventus star has scored 11 goals in his first season at Stamford Bridge since arriving from the Spaniards last summer, but after a bright start to the campaign struggled to find his form. He did appear as a last minute substitute in last weekend’s FA Cup final win over Man United, but Morata seems to be out of Lopetegui’s plans. The 25-year-old was not the only top Premier League star to be kept at home this summer, though, with the likes of Marcos Alonso, Hector Bellerin and Cesc Fabregas also missing out.
In this instance, Morata seems to have been a victim of his own playing position, with the head coach not wanting to accommodate more than three forwards. He said: “Including four players up front was not something we wanted to do, 2e have opted for three other players who had different assets.” The five players included in his squad – Marco Asensio, Lucas Vasquez (both Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia) and Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid) seem to offer exactly the options that the former Porto boss is looking for moving forward, though Morata’s omission may seem a little surprising.
The talent and speed Morata possesses should be a real benefit to any team he plays in, but having begun the season showing little difficult in settling in England’s top flight a dip in form meant he simply dropped out of the national reckoning. The last time he played for the former world champions was back in November 2017. He scored in the 5-0 demolition of Costa Rica that day, but his absence from the national side has coincided with said dip in form. Despite being told he wasn’t needed in Russia, Morata still took the time to wish his compatriots the best of luck at the World Cup.
There is a considerable irony in the inclusion of Diego Costa, of course. Having been sidelined at Chelsea, Costa completed a return to his former club Atletico Madrid back in January, despite netting 52 goals in 89 games whilst plying his trade in west London. Morata was ultimately signed to replace Costa, as the 29-year-old was exiled by the former Premier League champions at the time.
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