How Alvaro Morata could have been lining up against Chelsea in the Champions League

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Alvaro Morata reportedly snubbed a move to Barcelona in favour of Chelsea.
Alvaro Morata reportedly snubbed a move to Barcelona in favour of Chelsea.

Alvaro Morata is set to lead the line for Chelsea against Barcelona next week – but it could so easily have been the other way around if reports are to be believed.

Morata joined the Blues in a club-record transfer in the summer from Real Madrid after Antonio Conte missed out on the signing of Romelu Lukaku.

He made a blistering start to life at Stamford Bridge before a suspension and niggling back injury slowed his progress in recent weeks in west London.

Two appearances off the bench in the victories over West Bromwich Albion and Hull City last week have edged the Spaniard closer towards full fitness.

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Chelsea manager Conte has confirmed the former Madrid and Juventus hitman will be ready for the titanic European clash with the LaLiga leaders on Tuesday night.

“Alvaro has been training with us regularly, every day,” Conte said. “His physical condition is improving. Tomorrow, he will play a part of the game. He will be ready for the game against Barcelona in the Champions League.”

“In this moment, in every moment, it’s very important to have all your players available.

“In this case, to have two No. 9s in Morata and Giroud … to have two options is very important for us. For a lot of time [this season], we tried to play with Hazard as a No. 9.”

Should Morata get the nod against Barca, he will be facing the team Spanish news outlet Don Balon claims nearly beat the Blues to sign him in the summer.

The report gives two reasons for Morata’s decision to move instead to the Premier League.

Madrid’s relationship with their bitter rivals was a key sticking point as Zinedine Zidane’s side were not keen to sell to the Nou Camp club despite a higher bid of £88million.

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Morata was also said to be unsure of how much playing time he would have been afforded by the Catalan giants.

He was desperate for a full run of games before the World Cup after struggling to break into Real’s plans and being shipped out on loan.

Morata has netted 13 times in his debut campaign at Chelsea and made 34 appearances despite his back problem and disciplinary sanctions.

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