Atletico Madrid striker Alvaro Morata has spoken of his regret at leaving the club's academy when he was climbing through the youth ranks.
Morata was a boyhood Atleti fan but left for Getafe in 2007 before joining Real Madrid a year later. In two spells with Los Blancos, Morata won two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey and two Champions League medals.
Between those stints, Morata collected two Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia crowns with Juventus and went on to endure an indifferent spell with Chelsea before re-joining Atleti in January 2019.
Spain striker Morata says he is now happier than at any other point of his career.
"When I was a kid, I was a ballboy at Atletico," Morata said during an Instagram Live video with tennis player Fabio Fognini. "Then I went through a period where I didn't enjoy it so much. You know, it's the path a young kid goes down to be a professional.
"You start with agents, sponsors. I felt a lot of pressure, I wasn't starting games.
"I thought about leaving. Then I spent a year at Getafe and, you know what, it was an amazing year. Then I went to Real Madrid, but my dad and I used to go to the Vicente Calderon and I dreamed of playing there.
"However, unfortunately, I had to play there for other clubs and not with Atletico, but I always wanted to. What I have lived stays, but now I am happier than ever."
Morata also spoke about the toughest defenders he has faced in his career.
"[Giorgio] Chiellini, I don't know if he does it on purpose, but when he meets me, he always destroys me," Morata said with a laugh. "Sergio Ramos is also a tough defender, while when you go against [Virgil] Van Dijk it seems like you hit a mountain."
Morata moved back to Atletico on an initial 18-month loan deal from Chelsea in January 2019, with the deal currently scheduled to be made permanent with a £50 million transfer in July this year.
He had scored eight goals in 23 La Liga appearances this season before the campaign was postponed due to coronavirus.