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Morata shows Madrid why the Chelsea target is worth keeping

22:43 BST 05/04/2017
Alvaro Morata Napoli Real Madrid
The Spain striker scored twice in a 4-2 win at Leganes and is the ideal back-up for Karim Benzema - whoever Real sign in the summer


Alvaro Morata is a useful player to have around. The 24-year-old wants to start more matches, but never complains and almost always takes his chance when he is called upon for Real Madrid. And he did so again on Wednesday.

Benzema, Isco & Nacho boost Madrid's title hopes

Morata moved to Juventus following the 2013-14 season, after featuring as a substitute in the Champions League final win over Atletico in Lisbon. And, with Juve, he went on to appear in the fixture the following season as well, scoring in the 3-1 loss to Barcelona.

After two seasons in Italy, he returned to Real as Madrid activated a buy-back option on their homegrown player. Second time around, things have been tough once more and Chelsea are one of a number of teams keen on signing the striker in the summer transfer window.

But Madrid should give short shrift to any idea of dispensing with Morata. The striker scored twice at Leganes on Wednesday to take his tally for the season to 15 and, in the process, he also reached double figures for the first time ever in a league campaign. He also forced Real's fourth - an own goal by Martin Mantovani.

Although often more effective from the bench, Morata has delivered on several occasions as a starter this term and his 15 goals have arrived in 35 appearances (and a total of 1,518 minutes). Benzema, by comparison, has netted 17 times in 37 games (and 2,424 minutes).

Zidane fuels Theo transfer talk

So Morata's ratio is far superior to the French forward and, even though Benzema remains first choice for coach Zinedine Zidane, as well as the favoured option with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, Morata has proved a more-than-capable alternative.

Ronaldo and Bale both sat out the game at Leganes as Zidane looked ahead to the derby at home to Atletico on Saturday. The Portuguese was one booking away from a ban, while the Welshman has recently recovered from a serious ankle injury.

Both of those two should start at the Bernabeu this weekend along with Benzema, who was also rested. Zidane has said since day one that his plan is to play with the BBC. However, Madrid's strong squad is proving useful over a long, hard season.

Morata is a big part of that. The Spain striker wants more minutes and even Zidane has said that the player deserves to feature increasingly, adding that the Bernabeu is his home.

Isco: Madrid can win Liga & Champions League

The 24-year-old shows just what Madrid means to him every time he pulls on the shirt. His work-rate is impressive, his commitment without question, and his goal ratio is as good as anyone else at the club this season.

With presidential elections this summer, club chief Florentino Perez will want a big-name signing to boost his popularity and, at Madrid, that means bringing in a top-quality forward.

Signing another centre-forward would make life extremely difficult for Morata, but with Benzema still first choice, no high-profile striker would provide better back-up for the French forward or give as much for the shirt as the Spaniard, who grew up supporting the club and idolising Raul.

So Real should look at strengthening other positions instead - and tell Chelsea and everyone else that Morata is not for sale.