Pirlo denies Morata was his third choice to partner Cristiano Ronaldo
Andrea Pirlo said the fact he has previously played alongside Alvaro Morata was a big draw in signing him for Juventus.
Álvaro Morata was not the third-choice signing as he was always a priority for Juventus, insists head coach Andrea Pirlo. Spain striker Morata sealed his return to Turin and a reunion with Cristiano Ronaldo on an initial season-long deal from Atlético Madrid, with Juve retaining an option to make the deal permanent for €45million or pay an additional €10m to loan him for a further campaign.
Juve had been tipped to sign Luis Suárez from Barcelona before the deal broke down and he joined Atleti, while Edin Dzeko was also linked with a move from Roma.
But Morata arrived instead to fill a void left by Gonzalo Higuain's departure to Inter Miami, with the 27-year-old having left to re-join Real Madrid in 2016 and subsequently spending time at Chelsea and Atleti.
Pirlo, who started his coaching career with a convincing 3-0 win over Sampdoria last week, said the fact he previously played alongside Morata was a big draw.
Pirlo: "We were waiting for a striker and he arrived"
"We were waiting for a striker and he arrived," he told a news conference ahead of the Serie A clash against Roma on Sunday. "Álvaro Morata knows us well and I was fortunate enough to have played with him.
"He was not a third choice but one of our priorities, from a technical and tactical aspect he's what we were looking for."
Dzeko is set to come up against Juve at Stadio Olimpico and Pirlo acknowledged the threat he poses.
"He could have been a Juve striker, but he remains a great player," Pirlo added. "We respect him, but unfortunately he will be an opponent tomorrow."
Pirlo has a couple of selection posers to ponder against Roma with midfielder Arthur – a close-season arrival from Barça – in contention having been an unused substitute against Sampdoria, while forward Paulo Dybala returned to training this week after a muscular issue.
"We've worked with Paulo Dybala, who has gradually returned with the group," Pirlo said. "Let's see how he feels today and whether he can travel to Rome.
"Also, Arthur is coming from a period of inactivity but has worked very well. He's settling in, from a tactical and physical point of view.
"He hasn't played much at Barcelona either. He needs a period of acclimatisation, he's available tomorrow and we'll see whether to let him play or not."
Recommended in English
- THE GAME AWARDS The Game Awards 2021: times, stream, how to watch it online and what to expect
- THE GAME AWARDS The Game Awards 2021: list of nominees and the 6 GOTY contenders
- NFL LA Rams' WR Mike Williams latest to be put on covid-19 list
- EUROPA LEAGUE Have Barcelona ever played and won in the Europa League?
- GOLF When will Tiger Woods return to the PGA Tour?
- NFL NFL Fantasy Picks: Watch out for Wilson against Houston