Spain striker Alvaro Morata is a man on mission to lead the La Roja to their second FIFA World Cup title in Qatar. Despite a defeat in their penultimate group stage game against Japan, Spain sneaked through into the last-16, thanks to their superior goal difference to Germany who finished level on points with the 2010 winners. Luis Enrique’s men started their campaign with a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica, where Morata was among the scorers.
The striker has since scored against Germany in the 1-1 draw, as well as gave his side the lead against Japan in a 2-1 defeat. With 3 goals in 3 games so far, Morata’s having a tournament to remember individually, as he now looks to add to his tally against Morocco in the Round of 16. Meanwhile, the Atletico Madrid striker took time out of his busy preparations for the next game to talk about the other favourites to lift the World Cup in Qatar, picking Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to go all the way.
Alvaro Morata backs Ronaldo to cap-off “incredible career” with World Cup win
Likewise Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal too are having a somewhat mixed World Cup campaign. After two wins from their first two group games, Portugal lost against a striking South Korea team in their final group stage game. On the other hand, Ronaldo, who became a free agent before leading Portugal into their opener against Ghana is not having a tournament like that of Alvaro Morata, or his fierce rival Lionel Messi.
Both Messi and Morata have scored 3 goals each for their teams so far, while Ronaldo languishes behind them with just 1 in 3 games. Moreover, the five-time Ballon d’Or hasn’t had a group stage campaign to remember, after being named in SofaScore’s worst XI of the group stage at the tournament. But never count the 37-year-old forward, who has often rose to the occasion, be it for club or country. Talking about the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar at the ongoing showpiece, Morata opined on AS:
“What can I say about Messi! To anyone of my generation that you ask about Messi or Cristiano, they will tell you that they are amazing. I personally also like Neymar because he makes you enjoy watching him play the games. Anyone who likes football will stop what they are doing to see Messi, Cristiano or Neymar play.”
The former teammates with Ronaldo further went to assess the situation where his Spain and Portugal could clash in the quarterfinals if they progress through. While Spain take on Morocco, Portugal face a strong Switzerland side in the Round of 16. And the winners from these two ties, play against each other in the quarterfinals. Morata, on the prospect of a potential Spain vs Portugal showdown said:
“Hopefully if they come across us they don’t have their day. Personally, I would be happy if Cristiano wins the World Cup because he has had an incredible career. And I wouldn’t be sad if the other two [Messi or Neymar] win it, they are also great players. But the good thing would be that they were the three who congratulated us.”
While Morata firmly backs Ronaldo, alongside whom he plied his trade at Real Madrid for two seasons and Juventus for one, winning two Champions League titles as well, Messi and Neymar fancy their chance as well. The two South American powerhouses of Argentina and Brazil could face-off in the semifinals if they succeed in progressing till there. While Argentina have taken the next step by reaching the quarterfinals, Brazil now face South Korea in their last-16 clash. Meanwhile, Ronaldo and Portugal will go up against Switzerland in their Round of 16 outing on December 7.