Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata admits Juventus are still ‘my team in Italy’ and doubts he would celebrate against them in Turin.
Morata scored 27 goals in 93 appearances for Juve between 2014 and 2016, winning two Scudetti and reaching a Champions League Final, before beating the Bianconeri with Real Madrid at the same stage two years later.
“We’re second in La Liga, fighting for the title, and now comes the game against Juventus, where everything stops,” the Atleti new boy told AS ahead of Wednesday’s last-16 first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano.
“This is the Champions League, and it’s our moment to show what we want. They’re a great team, but we’ll fight to the death.
“I don’t have to give anyone advice. I’ve come here to add to the work done over the years.
“I know that winning the Champions League doesn’t mean the same thing here than it does at other places.
“I won’t explain what winning the Champions League would mean to Atletico, but first we have to beat Juventus, who are a great team.
“We’re only thinking about having a great game. We know it’s complicated to play at our stadium
“I couldn’t not celebrate my first goal for Atletico [against Juve]. Maybe I wouldn’t [in Turin] out of respect, but my first goal in this shirt would mean a lot to me.
“I couldn’t stand and ask for forgiveness. It’s true I want to respect the Juventus fans as much as possible, given they’re my team in Italy, and that I want them to always win, just not against us.
“I think the Juventus fans would understand if I celebrated in Madrid, just as the Atleti fans would if I didn’t in Turin.
“Juve have Ronaldo, yes, but they also reached the Final without him. They’re a very competitive team and it’ll be very difficult to beat them, but we’re Atlético and we’ll do everything to make it difficult for them and win the tie.
“I never had any problems with him. Maybe we understand some things differently, but I had no problem with him.
“I hope he doesn’t have his day. Sometimes I’d talk to him about things outside of football. He’s a good person and there are no problems between us.
“I can understand why Juve are favourites, given they’re a great team. It’s a responsibility for them.
“We’re aware of who they are and, I believe, vice versa. The Juventus players weren’t very happy when they got us in the draw.
“I know them and they know what’s in store. They respect us and we respect them too.”
“I hope he does. If [Juve’s defenders] don’t kick me, it would be a good thing for them,” he explained.
“First I have to be on the field and then they can kick me as much as they want. If they do that, it’d be a good sign.”