Alvaro Morata's bravery to quit Real Madrid is rewarded at Juventus

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Leaving your hometown club for pastures new is never an easy decision for a young footballer, especially when the club in question is Real Madrid. 

But for Madrid-born Alvaro Morata it was a decision he took with a heavy heart last summer when, faced with the realistic possibility of sitting behind Karim Benzema in the pecking order for Madrid's lone-striker role for the foreseeable future, he packed up his bags and moved to Serie A champions Juventus.

The transfer fee, £17.5 million with a £23.8 million buy-back clause after one season, spoke of Morata's undeniable talent and potential, but the fact Madrid were willing to let him leave highlighted the fault in the movement of young Madridistas progressing through the academy to becoming a fixture in the first team set-up.

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Stalling start

Initially Morata struggled in Turin, not helped out by niggling injuries, with Carlos Tevez the undisputed fulcrum of Massimo Allegri's side and compatriot Fernando Llorente often picked to partner the Argentinean.

Heading into the Bianconeri's game with Empoli on November 1 Morata had the same amount of goals, one, as he did red cards.

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But as the 22-year-old got used to the idea of rotating regularly with Llorente, rather than being used for the last few minutes of games as was often the case at Real Madrid, Morata began to take his opportunities when they came. 

The turnaround

A winning goal against Parma in January's Copa Italia game, albeit from the substitute's bench, sparked a run of four goals in six games, including a crucial winner in the Champions League round of 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund. 

Back-to-back goals against Palermo and the return tie with Dortmund were the sign of a player in peak form, although suspension against Genoa in Juventus' last game halted this somewhat. 

Nonetheless, with Llorente ageing and Morata finding the net on a regular occasion, his move to Juventus looks to be a very shrewd one.

International breakthrough

A call-up to Spain's senior squad has presented Morata with a fantastic opportunity to impress Vincente del Bosque, especially in the absence of Diego Costa, still yet to click at international level, and Paco Alcácer.  

Although an argument could be made that Morata was simply not good enough to break into the Real Madrid team, ten goals in only eight starts at the Bernabeu, coupled with his record of 13 goals in 13 games for the Spain U21 side would indicate he should have been given more of a chance. 

This is not lost on Morata, who recently lambasted Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti for freezing the youngster out and failing to explain his reasoning.

Heed the warning

Madrid winger Jesé is one such player that could benefit from a similar change of scenery, although he is clearly thought highly of amongst the coaching staff. 

Like Morata, the majority of the 22-year-old's appearances have come off the bench, and whilst his talent is clear, competing with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez for a first-team spot is a bleak prospect. 

For now Morata's prospects are looking up and, with the tantalising prospect of Juventus meeting Real Madrid in the semi-final of the Champions League, the striker has all the motivation needed to show Madrid exactly what they have missed out on.

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La Liga
Real Madrid
UEFA Champions League
Alvaro Morata
Serie A

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