Spain striker Alvaro Morata hopes Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo shows up at the 2018 World Cup “very tired” after another busy season at Real Madrid.
Spain were last week drawn with Euro 2016 winners Portugal in Group B along with Morocco and Iran for next year’s tournament.
Morata’s former teammate at Madrid, Ronaldo, scored 15 of his country’s 32 goals in World Cup qualifying.
“Let’s hope that he scores many goals at Madrid but he arrives very tired for the World Cup,” Morata said of Ronaldo to Spanish TV station TVE.
Ronaldo has scored eight goals in the Champions League this season but only two in La Liga, the same tally as Real teammate Karim Benzema.
Morata, who scored five goals in five World Cup qualifying games for Spain, is expected to play an important role in their attack at next year’s tournament in Russia.
The 25-year-old has notched nine Premier League goals in 14 appearances since becoming Chelsea’s record signing in a £65 million switch from Madrid in the summer.
Morata says he is glad that he moved to London because he now gets to have a starring role in every game.
He said: “You know that in each game you have real options to play, if you train well, you play. Had I wanted things like money or living in a city, I would’ve stayed at home, where I had everything. Last year I wasn’t playing so many games in a row as I’m doing now.”
Real may be missing Morata as on Saturday, for the third time this season, they failed to find the target in a 0-0 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Ronaldo was visibly frustrated after the game as his side failed to close the gap on La Liga leaders Barcelona following the Catalan side’s 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo.
“I don’t know if they miss me or not but it’s a pleasure that they say that they miss me,” Morata said of Madrid players and fans. “I wish they wouldn’t have to say it.”
Morata says he is becoming a better player under Chelsea coach Antonio Conte.
“He only makes you grow because you can’t get comfortable or find a zone to settle in,” he said. “He wants you to give your maximum every time.”
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.