Juanma López, aka Atleti's 'Superlópez', is Álvaro Morata's agent. He was at the Bernabéu yesterday weighing up the future options for his client, who has been growing restless. He is playing less than he would like, and more importantly, he's had less pitch time in the big games. Based on the opportunities he's been given, though, it's been a great year, but he is aiming for so much more. He's at his peak age, will be going to the next World Cup and is putting forward a strong case that he should start for the Spanish national team ahead of Diego Costa and Iago Aspas. Madrid told him that they understood...and an offer was put forward. But, Cristiano and Benzema lead the forward line there, and to them could be added Mbappé, a signing for the future.
Cristiano and Benzema keeping Morata out
Cristiano has completed a magnificent evolution into the number nine position. It took some months but he was devastating in the latter part of the season including his ten goals in the final few games of the Champions League. Benzema has adjusted well to this change, his football less hard-hitting, but subtle, and he has the full protection from the club president. Morata is very good, but he is, by necessity, behind them. There's no way around this, and moreover, nobody can be guaranteed minutes in the first team. It's a shame. He came from the youth side; he has fought hard; he looked for a rebirth at Juve; he successfully led the 'B side' to valuable wins... But it is what it is.
Mbappé and Neymar to battle for Ballon d'Or
For some time Morata and James have had one foot out the door. James' situation is also a pity. He plays delightfully, he had a great first season, but then fell away when Benítez was less than enthusiastic about him. Like Morata, he became a victim of the mythical BBC. Also like Morata, he has a high price in the transfer market due to some impressive statistics across his few appearances. With the departure of them both comes the finances to sign Mbappé, the attacker of the future in Florentino's eyes, who he sees will fight it out with Neymar for the Ballon d'Or when Messi and Cristiano are done.