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When I was young…Alvaro Morata

07/06/2018

KICKABOUTS
When I was a boy, I began to play soccer with my dad and my grandfather. We had a football pitch out the front of our house – very hard and very ugly, but we alwayswent there and kicked the ball. It was a lot of fun for us, we enjoyed ourselves together and it’s beautiful to enjoy a lot of moments with the ball when you are a kid.

FIRST TRICK
In Spanish we call it ‘la vuelta al mundo’, which means ‘around the world’ [where you lift your leg over the ball and catch it on your foot again before it hits the floor]. At school, when I was little, all the boys could do it, so I decided I needed to do it too. Now I can do five in a row!

THE BOY I USED TO BE

I used to speak a lot, and always about football! When someone came round to the house, I would always be speaking to them about football and I remember my big brothers saying, “You can have another conversation, you know!” But as a boy, I was always very happy, always running and always doing something.



MAJOR TOURNAMENT
The first moment from a tournament that I remember was in Euro 2000, when the Spanish player, Perez Alfonso, who played for Real Betis, scored an important goal [in the last minute against Yugoslavia, below]. I saw my dad go crazy and I understoodthe importance of this game. That is one of my first memories of football. I also remember the Champions League nal between Real Madrid and Juventus in 1998, and that is when I understood the meaning and the importance of that competition. I remember going to celebrate the trophy with my dad and my family.

FAVOURITE PLAYER
For me, it was Raul, because I played at the Real Madrid Academy. I wanted to make a career like Raul, but I wanted to be like Fernando Torres. I always liked Torres, not just as a footballer, but as a person. I liked the hair, I liked the boots, I liked everything of Fernando, and I tried to imitate all of those things. Sometimes my mum would say I was crazy. One day, Fernando grew long, blond hair. I was 13 or 14 years old and I went to my mum and said, “I want to have hair like Fernando’s.” She looked at me and said, “Are you crazy? One day, when you are like Fernando Torres, you can do whatever you want.” But I wanted the hair.



SCHOOL DAYS

I passed all the exams because when I listened I memorised all the things the teachers said, but I wasn’t great at school. When I was little, my life was about activities. I couldn’t sit and concentrate on studying. I needed to run and to do something. I passed everything but when it came to the moment to go to university, I was in the first team at Real Madrid, so it wasn’t necessary. Probably, I would have liked to study something to help me become a physical education teacher, but now the best university for me is to have a good career.

SUMMER DAYS
My best summer holiday was probably when my parents sent me to a football camp with my cousins and a lot of my friends. In the morning it was football coaching, and in the afternoon we went to the swimming pool and did some activities. I was 10 or 11 years old, when you begin to discover new things, to look at the girls, to socialise and make jokes with your friends. There was a big dormitory with 30 beds and it was impossible to sleep. If you fell asleep, you would wake up with drawings on your face!



FIRST POSITION
I began as a midfielder, but in the end, when a coach saw me play, he put me as a striker because I was always shooting.

ALL-ROUNDER

I was always playing soccer or tennis when I was little. I had tennis training for two hours and soccer for an hour-and-a-half, but then one day – when I was 13 – my mum told me to choose one. I chose soccer and I think it’s a good decision because I’m not bad! But one thing I always think about is where I could have reached if I had chosen tennis. At that time I was playing Spanish tournaments and the next step was to play European tournaments, but I went the football way instead.

PRIZED POSSESSION
This is not from when I was young, but I have a museum room in Madrid. I have 500 football boots and more-or-less 2,000 shirts from other players. When we played against Everton last month I asked Wayne Rooney for his shirt, and I already have football boots from Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robert Lewandowski, David Beckham and Fernando Torres – the ones he scored the goal in to win the first European Championships for Spain. One day I would like to open it. My dream when I was little was to have a place where you could hold the boots of the best players in your hands, then try to shoot into the goal and other things. I would love to do something like that. Imagine, as a kid, if you could go to some place and see Ronaldo or Messi’s boots. Now I have the opportunity to do that and I would love to give that to all the kids who want to be close to professional football.



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