Why Atletico Madrid fans are unhappy about Morata signing

The Chelsea flop has rejoined the club where he started out but many supporters are upset about his return - and not just because of his Real ties

"Less Morata and more Borja Garces."

While most Atletico Madrid supporters are excited about the signing of Alvaro Morata, some fans at the Wanda Metropolitano for Saturday's 2-0 win over Getafe decided to voice their displeasure with their club's January transfer business.

The on-loan Chelsea striker has returned to Spain looking to regain the form that helped Real Madrid win La Liga and the Champions League in 2017, after suffering a desperately disappointing spell at Stamford Bridge.

The club's ultras, known as the Frente Atletico ('Atletico Front'), were the most vocal during the Getafe game, urging head coach Diego Simeone to look to the club's youth players to find a solution to their problems in front of goal.

However, Morata's arrival means first-team opportunities for teenage forwards Borja Garces and Victor Mollejo will remain rare, even accounting for the January departure of Gelson Martins, and potential exit of Nikola Kalinic.

Simeone has given both Garces and Mollejo their senior debuts this season. However, Mollejo has featured just twice off the bench, while Garces hasn't been seen since opening his Atleti account during a 19-minute cameo against Eibar back in September.

The fans are, thus, frustrated by the lack of game time being afforded to homegrown talent, particularly with Diego Costa struggling for fitness and goals – he has netted just once in La Liga this season. 

Garces and Mollejo are both products of the club's youth academy, with the latter having arrived in 2010 before working his way through the academy ranks and then into the B team.

Alvaro Morata Chelsea

Garces followed a similar route after joining in 2016. The pair are seen as the future of the club, with fans eager to support local players rather than watch the team splash out money on big-name signings like Morata.

Simeone understands the opinion of the Frente Atletico but believes that results are far more important. The Argentine has been in charge since 2011 and knows that the best way to win support from the club's most outspoken fans is through positive performances on the pitch.

"The fans' opinion should always be respected," Simeone told reporters. "But I look for players who serve the club and the team."

Atleti's most ardent followers, though, would have obviously preferred that the former midfielder didn't sign a forward who is best known for helping bitter rivals Real win La Liga and the Champions League two years ago.

Indeed, Morata hit 20 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions in 2016-17, which remains the most prolific campaign of his career to date.

It was that form which persuaded Chelsea to make the Spain international their club-record signing (£60 million/$79m) 18 months ago but he has failed dismally since then to justify that lofty fee, with a grand total of 24 goals in 72 matches.

GFX Morata Real

It is, therefore, easy to understand why Atleti fans are hardly enamoured with the idea of signing a former Real player who not only flopped in the Premier League but looked completely mentally shot during the last calendar year.

Still, those with longer memories will know that this is a homecoming for Morata.

Although he never made a senior appearance in red and white, the striker started out at Atletico, spending three years at the club's youth academy before moving to Getafe and then on to Real, where he made his professional bow. 

"The people who know my background and where I come from, know my history and what this means to me," he enthused. 

"The past is the past and we can't change it."

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He can shape his future, though. Having turned 26 only three months ago, Morata is still young and should be entering the peak years of his career.

He is looking to restart his career in the same city where it all began and, if he can regain his best form, then Atletico fans will soon forget all about his Real links and those now behind him in the pecking order.

It might even lead to a new chant: "More Morata, more Morata!"