Alvaro Morata wants Antoine Griezmann’s decision to leave Atletico Madrid to be respected.
France forward Griezmann announced this week that he intends to leave Atleti after five years at the club, despite signing a contract extension running until 2023 last year.
Lucas Hernandez and captain Diego Godin are also saying their farewells to the Wanda Metropolitano and, with fan emotion potentially becoming frayed, Morata called for Griezmann’s contribution to the Atletico cause to be acknowledged.
“It’s a decision that we have to respect, we have to thank him for what he’s done for this club, which is a lot, and we respect his decision,” said the on-loan Chelsea striker, whose deal means he is set to be with Atleti throughout 2019-20.
“We wish he could have stayed, but he’s taken that decision. We are finishing the season, but we have the same excitement for next season.
“Change is always difficult, but we are working to make a competitive team and fight for it all next season.
“We are very motivated in the dressing room for the future, it’s very important.”
Barcelona are heavily tipped to be Griezmann’s next employers, but Morata insists he has “no idea” what his team-mate is planning.
“Everyone found out [he was leaving] in their own way, it depends on the relationship we have with him,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how; the situation is what it is. We have to accept it and keep going.”
Cinco meses han sido suficientes para darme cuenta de la gran persona que hay detrás del futbolista y lo que significas para este club. Gracias por todo capitán. #GraciasGodín pic.twitter.com/jDrvM7kavN
— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) 7 May 2019
Morata’s old club Real Madrid, meanwhile, have been strongly linked with a big-money swoop for Chelsea star Eden Hazard.
“He’s one of the best players in the world and could fit in well in any team, the team he wants,” Morata said.
“He’s a top player and top person, he’d fit in at any team.”
Morata was also asked whether Chelsea’s pending transfer ban could result in a scenario where he is recalled from his loan.
The Blues intend to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to see if the ban on registering new players for the next two transfer windows can be frozen or overturned, but Morata wants to stay with Atletico regardless.
“I don’t know, there are contracts,” he added. “My focus is to get on the pitch and play.
“What is clear is what I want – I want to be here.
“I’m not thinking about going back anywhere, only being here. I’m happy here and I want to be here for the years I have left at the top level.
“There are things that players have to not get involved in, there are negotiations and contracts. I did all I could to come to Atletico and I will do everything to stay.”