Alvaro Morata Reveals He Was the ‘Opposite of Happy’ During Difficult Chelsea Spell

​Alvaro Morata has lifted the lid on his struggles while playing for Chelsea, revealing that he was far from happy during his 2017/18 debut season with the Blues.

Following a promising start to his Chelsea career, Morata’s form tailed off and resulted in his omission from Spain’s 2018 World Cup squad – something that had a significant impact on his happiness and desire to play football.

Alvaro Morata

In an interview that will be aired on Spanish TV programme Jugones this Wednesday, as reported by AS, the striker revealed: “I didn’t feel like doing anything, leaving home, talking to people, nothing.”

He added: “The only thing I had in mind was going to the World Cup, playing and being happy … and in the end I was quite the opposite of happy.”

For Premier League viewers, Morata’s omission came as no surprise. After nine goals in ​Chelsea’s opening 15 Premier League fixtures following his July 2017 signing from Juventus, the Spaniard managed to hit the net just two further times across the remainder of the season.

Although the thought of retirement never crossed his mind, Morata did reveal his desire to escape the limelight and pressure. He added: “I did think about playing somewhere very far away, without pressure, without having to win every Sunday, without having to concentrate for matches.”

Alvaro Morata

A loan move to Atletico Madrid rejuvenated Morata and convinced Los Rojiblancos to part with a reported €56m to secure a permanent transfer. The player has more than repaid Diego Simeone’s faith in 2019/20 and heads into the latest international break with six goals in his previous six ​La Liga appearances. 

It’s this form that has many tipping Morata to lead the line in Spain’s final two Euro 2020 qualifying matches – a home double-header with Malta and Romania – which offer the perfect chance to seal his starting spot and put World Cup heartbreak behind him.

Let’

Chelsea Star N’Golo Kante Opens Up on His Public Image in Candid Interview

​Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has admitted that he does get annoyed, despite being portrayed as an innocent guy.

The France international is seen as one of football’s nicest and most professional men, but confessed that he is like football fans and can get angry at times.

FBL-FRA-EURO2020-TRAINING

“I can, like everyone, get annoyed, accept or not accept certain things,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe, as quoted by ​Get French Football News. “I try to live life in the best way possible. Before I became a professional, I had a life like a quasi-majority of people. I loved football and footballers like a fan.”

​Kante enjoyed a quick rise to the top of world football after moving from Caen to ​Leicester in 2015, playing a significant role in helping the Foxes win the ​Premier League title.

However, Kante insists that he remembers what it’s like to not be famous, and simply wants to make people happy, before joking that he shies away from media opportunities.

N'Golo Kante

“Today, although people view me as a star, I know what it is like to be on the other side. And to make people happy, that’s always good,” he added. “I have always wanted to take pleasure in my life in football. 

“Even if it is also a job, it is the thing that I do that I feel most comfortable doing. Putting myself out there in the media or the public, I can do it at certain points. But I don’t like to do it too often.”

Kante joined ​Chelsea in 2016 after his astonishing year at the King Power Stadium, winning a second successive league title at Stamford Bridge as well as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.

N'Golo Kante

His incredible rise was capped off with winning the World Cup with France in 2018, before further improving under managers Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard and turning into a complete midfielder.

He’s been hampered by injuries this season, but the Blues haven’t suffered in his absence, and sit third in the Premier League heading into the November international break.

Let’

Reviewing All 20 Premier League Clubs’ Seasons So Far Using Martin Scorsese’s Filmography

Cloud: ​The 1,111,111,111th international break of the 2019/20 season is sadly upon us. 

Silver lining: The 1,111,111,111th international break of the 2019/20 season gives us an opportunity to assess how each Premier League team has performed, so far, this campaign. 

So, using quotes from Martin Scorsese’s filmography during the week of The Irishman’s release, let’s do it. Let’s assess how all 20 Premier League teams have fared during the first 12 weeks of the season. 


AFC Bournemouth 

He ain’t pretty no more. (Raging Bull) 

Eddie Howe

​The Cherries aren’t as pretty, or as fun, as they used to be – but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

Sure the football isn’t as free-flowing, the goals aren’t as innumerate, and no one watches their game on Match of the Day, but Eddie Howe’s side seem to be tightening things up at the back in recent weeks. And judging by the fact that they conceded 70 goals in the league last season (yes, 70), that’s probably a good thing.


Arsenal

You wasted eight aprons on that guy. (Goodfellas) 

Nicolas Pepe

​Arsenal wasted £72m on a forward called Nicolas Pepe and they still have a negative goal difference. 


Aston Villa

Hey, I’m back. (The Colour of Money) 

Ahmed El Mohamady

Hey, ​Aston Villa are back. 

Sure, they’re not great – they’ve lost their last three games on the bounce – but at least they’ve looked a lot more competitive than the last time they were in the Premier League (which isn’t hard to be honest). 


Brighton & Hove Albion

Some day a real rain will come. (Taxi Driver)

Graham Potter

Many, including me, expected a real rain to fall on the Amex Stadium this season; washing ​Brighton & Hove Albion back down to the Championship. But, quite surprisingly, Graham Potter’s team have been pretty decent. 

Strong at the back and playing more expansive football than ever before, Brighton are, weirdly, here to stay. 


Burnley

You might be demonstrating a failure to show appreciation. (The Irishman) 

Sheffield United v Burnley FC - Premier League

Sean Dyche is the best manager in the Premier League. 

Put some respeck on the man’s name. 


Chelsea

With this script, I’ll teach each and every one of you to be the best. (The Wolf of Wall Street) 

Mason Mount,Tammy Abraham

A group of immensely talented young players? Check. 

A promising young manager who loves the club? Check. 

A ​Tik Tok account? Check. 

​Chelsea are the real deal. 


Crystal Palace

To me, it meant being somebody in a neighbourhood full of nobodies. (Goodfellas) 

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha currently sits 12th in the Premier League table, having won four of his first 12 games. Some of his best moments of the season include away wins over Manchester United and West Ham United, and a come-from-behind draw with Arsenal. 


Everton

I got some bad ideas in my head. (The Colour of Money) 

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-TOTTENHAM

The following are some of Marco Silva’s worst ideas:

– Deciding that Moise Kean is a right winger. 

– Playing Dominic Carlvert-Lewin week in, week out. 

– Not practicing set-pieces EVER.

– Opting not to give Jordan Pickford growth hormones. 


Leicester City

No one gives it to you. You have to take it. (The Departed) 

James Maddison,Jamie Vardy

​Leicester City – led by big Brendy baps – have taken the fight to the supposed ‘big six’ during the first 12 weeks of the season. 

And, so far, they’re better than five of the aforementioned ‘big six’, 

They’ve scored the second more goals, won the second most games, have the second best goal difference, and are second in the table. Nice one. 


Liverpool 

This kid was great. They used to call him Spitshine Tommy, I swear to God! Now he’d make your shoes look like f**kin’ mirrors, ‘scuse my language. He was terrific, he was the best. He made a lot of money too. (Goodfellas) 

Sadio Mane,Virgil Van Dijk

This team is great. They’ve won 11 of their 12 Premier League games, I swear to God! They’re eight points clear at the top of the f**kin’ table, ‘scuse my language. They are terrific, they are the best. They’re going to win a lot of trophies. 


Manchester City 

You gotta have two things to win. You gotta have brains and you gotta have balls. Now, you got too much of one and not enough of the other. (The Colour of Money) 

Pep Guardiola

You gotta have to things to win. You gotta have a great attack and a great defence. Now, ​Manchester City got too much of one (attackers) and not enough of the other (defenders). 


Manchester United 

What the f**k are you doing? You’re hanging around my f**kin’ neck like a vulture, like impending danger. (Goodfellas) 

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-BRIGHTON

Things have been going quite well for ​Manchester United in recent weeks. They’ve won five of their last six games in all competitions, and Anthony Martial is back fit and firing. 

But there’s a vulture of impending danger hanging around their neck: their lack of squad depth. 

The Red Devils are seemingly just one injury away from a descent into yet another crisis.


Newcastle United

I tried, I tried hard, but I couldn’t save this movie from itself. (Gangs of New York) 

Steve Bruce

Steve Bruce is trying. 

Steve Bruce is trying hard, but as each week passes it becomes more and more clear that Steve Bruce cannot save ​Newcastle United from itself. 


Norwich City 

Leave me alone, I’m dead. (Taxi Driver) 

Teemu Pukki

Position: 20th.

Played: 12.

Won: 2.

Drawn: 1. 

Lost: 9. 

Goals Scored: 11. 

Goals Conceded: 28. 

Points: 7.

​Norwich City are dead. 


Sheffield United 

You always charge a guy with a gun! With a knife, you run away. (The Irishman) 

George Baldock,Lys Mousset,David McGoldrick

​Sheffield United know what to do. 

They know when to take the game to teams, and they know when to sit back and soak up pressure. That’s why they’re fifth. That’s why they’re undeniably brilliant. 


Southampton 

Ahhhhhh! I’m gut shot! (Taxi Driver)

Danny Ings

​Southampton were beaten 9-0 at home. 

9-0. 

They aren’t exactly Norwich City, but they’re not much better. 


Tottenham Hotspur 

I remember those cheers. They still ring in my ears. And for years they’ll remain in my thoughts.

Cause one night I took off my robe, and what’d I do? I forgot to wear shorts.

I recall every fall, every hook, every jab; the worst way a guy could get rid of his flab. As you know, my life wasn’t drab…though I’d rather hear you cheer, when I delve into Shakespeare. “A Horse, a Horse, my Kingdom for a Horse.”

I haven’t had a winner in six months. (Raging Bull) 

FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-SHEFFIELD UTD

I remember the win over Ajax. The run to the UEFA Champions League final. And for years that will remain in my thoughts. But now when Tottenham play, what do they do? They lose. 

Now I recall every goal conceded, every Hugo Lloris mistake, every soul-crushing home defeat; the worst way to start a season.  

It feels like ​Tottenham Hotspur haven’t won a game in six months. 


Watford

One of these days I’m gonna get ‘organised’. (Taxi Driver) 

FBL-ENG-PR-WATFORD-CHELSEA

One of these days, ​Watford’s immensely talented squad are going to click. And when they do, they’ll bound up the table. 


West Ham United

Salvy, this ain’t funny anymore. (Raging Bull) 

Roberto

Ok ​West Ham United, this isn’t funny anymore. 

Failing to win any of your last six league games isn’t funny.

Neither is losing to Newcastle United. 

Get your sh*t together lads. 


Wolverhampton Wanderers

I’m gonna win. There’s no way I’m goin’ down. I don’t go down for nobody. (Raging Bull) 

Raul Jimenez

After a slow start, ​Wolverhampton Wanderers have found their feet in recent weeks by beating Manchester City and remaining unbeaten in all competitions ever since. Nice one. 


For more from Jack Gallagher, follow him on Twitter! 


Let’

5 of the Biggest England Teammate Bust-Ups

​Football is an intense game. Tensions are always high but, sometimes, things get a little bit out of control – even off the field.

In the past, we have seen numerous examples of teammates clashing, both in training, on the pitch and in the tabloids, and England players are no exception.

Almost nine years after the the most recent Three Lions controversy, Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling have put the spotlight back on the England camp.

On Tuesday it was revealed that Man City’s Sterling had been dropped from the matchday squad to face Montenegro on Thursday night following an altercation with Liverpool defender Gomez in the canteen at St George’s Park.

The pair had gone head to head a few days prior as emotions ran high during the top-of-the-table encounter between the two sides at Anfield, with the home side running out 3-1 winners.

Here are five times England players butted heads on international duty.


John Terry vs Wayne Bridge

John Terry,Wayne Bridge *** Local Caption *** John Terry,Wayne Bridge

Back in 2010, rumours emerged in the media that England captain John Terry had had an affair with the ex-girlfriend of former ​Chelsea and England teammate Wayne Bridge. Terry has strongly denied the allegations, but they still left their mark on the squad.

​Terry was ultimately stripped of the captaincy by manager Fabio Capello, who feared the incident could have a detrimental impact on the team.

The centre-back was eventually reinstated as captain, but not before…


John Terry vs Steven Gerrard

Stevens Gerrard,John Terry

2010 was a busy year for Terry. He was part of the England side which crashed out of the 2010 World Cup in the round of 16, and many have attributed that to an ongoing issue between Terry and new captain Steven Gerrard.

Terry spoke to the media during the group stage in which he discussed Capello’s tactics, and Gerrard is believed to have felt as though Terry was trying to undermine him as captain of the team.

​One heavy tackle from Terry later, and the two were face-to-face in training. The pair had to be pulled apart, and players in the squad ultimately began taking sides. Not the best way to prepare for a World Cup game.


Ravel Morrison vs Wilfried Zaha

Ravel Morrison,Tomas Birskys

It’s not just the seniors who find themselves involved in bust-ups. Even the Under-21s have been known to butt heads.

Back in 2013, both Ravel Morrison and ​Wilfried Zaha were part of the England setup, and they played a part in a 5-0 mauling of Lithuania. Morrison netted twice and was on the lookout for his third, but was left fuming after Zaha declined to pass him the ball.

After the pair exchanged words, Morrison ended up thrusting his hands into Zaha’s face, and the pair needed to be pulled apart by Nathan Redmond.


Graeme Le Saux vs David Batty

Graeme Le Saux of England

​Blackburn Rovers and England teammates Graeme Le Saux and David Batty were on top of the world in 1995. They had just won the Premier League, but things quickly turned sour.

During a ​Champions League game against Spartak Moscow in November, the pair inadvertedly collided when chasing a loose ball, and it all just escalated from there. It began with shouting, and it descended into a physical brawl in which punches were thrown by Le Saux.

Captain Tim Sherwood came across to scold the pair like a disappointed parent, and they reluctantly went their separate ways. They continued to lineup alongside each other for Blackburn for one more year, but they remained England teammates until 1999. Awkward.


Raheem Sterling vs Joe Gomez

FBL-EUR-2020-QUALIFIER-ENG-TRAINING

Manchester City man Raheem Sterling will not feature in Thursday’s game with Montenegro after a heated clash with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez in the England canteen.

According to Sky Sports, Sterling, who was still frustrated after his exchange with Gomez at club level at the weekend, took offence to Gomez laughing and went to grab his throat, asking “you think you’re the big man now?”.

Peacemaker Jordan Henderson had to step in on the phone to calm things down, and both players have since apologised. Sterling also posted a statement on Instagram saying the pair were now ‘good’.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Let’

7 Players Who Could Leave Napoli in Wake of Scandal & Where They Could Go

​Napoli are a shambles on and off the pitch these days.

After being held to a 0-0 draw by Genoa on Saturday, Carlo Ancelotti’s side are seventh in Serie A, five points off the Champions League qualification spots and 13 behind leaders Juventus. However, that is far from the biggest issue surrounding the club.

SSC Napoli v Genoa CFC - Serie A

​I Partenopei’s poor run of results saw owner Aurelio Di Laurentiis take matters into his own hands following a stalemate against Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday, ​scheduling extra training sessions for the squad. However, both the manager and players refused to turn up for the organised retreat and are set to face the consequences which could range from fines, to legal action to being sold…

Here’s a look at who could be forced out or ready to jump ship at Stadio San Paolo in the wake of this ugly mutiny and where they may be headed next.


Dries Mertens

Ories Mertens

It’ll be a tragedy when, not if, Dries Mertens moves away from Naples. He’s fallen for the fan-base and they have likewise fallen for him, but this love affair is set to go the way of Romeo and Juliet.

Having only recently surpassed Diego Maradona into second place on Napoli’s all-time top scorers lisr, the Belgian may be close to joining rivals ​Inter after ​’practically agreeing’ a two-year contract with the Nerazzurri.

It’s a sad, sad end to what had been a heartwarming story for Mertens and his adoring supporters.

Probable Destination: Inter


Kalidou Koulibaly

FBL-EUR-C1-NAPOLI-SALZBURG

If anyone is to depart I Partenopei, it will be Kalidou Koulibaly. It’s very simple – the colossal centre-back is too good to be at a club so deeply embroiled in crisis, and he knows it.

So, where is the Senegalese likely to end up? At another club that’s in the midst of a crisis! ​Manchester United have been tracking him for years and may return with a new bid if they feel they can get a discounted price amid the chaos.

United may have splashed out big on Harry Maguire in the summer, but their defensive issues aren’t quite fully solved. The likes of PSG, Man City Juventus and many may well be interested if word gets out that Napoli are ready to entertain bids but expect the Red Devils to be at the front of the queue.

Possible Destination: Manchester United


Fabián Ruiz

Fabian Ruiz

Back in October, ​Real Madrid representatives ​made contact with Fabián Ruiz as they looked to lure him back to his native Spain. Now, there’s added incentive for Los Blancos to press ahead with a deal.

A player of the midfielder’s calibre will not want to hang around on the sinking ship that is Napoli when he could go and be the heir to Luka Modrić’s throne at the Bernabeu. 

​Barcelona and ​Manchester City are also thought to be interested, but neither can guarantee him a starting berth. Madrid most certainly can as they prepare for life without their ageing Croatian playmaker, whilst Ruiz is also thought to favour Madrid due to it’s proximity to his family home.

Possible Destination: Real Madrid


José Callejón

Jose Maria Callejon

While the Chinese Super League has been suggested for Callejon, Italian journalist Ciro Venerato has claimed ​AC Milan are looking to secure the Spaniard’s signature once his deal with I Partenopei expires in the summer, as reported by club news outlet ​Sempre Milan.

The Rossoneri were keen on bringing him to San Siro over the off-season, yet they couldn’t come to an agreement with his current employers. 

However, they won’t need Napoli’s good graces after his deal runs out and it’s understood Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina could play a part in convincing Callejón to move up north.

Possible Destination: AC Milan


Lorenzo Insigne

Lorenzo Insigne

Until they got slapped with a one-year transfer ban, ​Chelsea had rather fancied the idea of bringing Lorenzo Insigne to west London. 

​The Blues wanted the forward to come in for Madrid-bound Eden Hazard at Stamford Bridge and – obviously – haven’t been able to purchase any replacements as of yet.

Christian Pulisic is beginning to blossom under Frank Lampard, but Pedro will surely be on his way soon, whilst it can’t hurt to have a make-shift back-up for Tammy Abraham, despite the clear differences in his and Insigne’s style of play.

Like with Koulibaly, expect many of Europe’s major players to take an interest in local hero Insigne is made to leave his hometown club.

Possible Destination: Chelsea


Kostas Manolas

Konstantinos "Kostas" Manolas

​Arsenal were allegedly ​close to signing Greek centre-back Kostas Manolas before his switch from Roma to San Paolo in the summer – who’s to say they won’t resurrect that interest?

No one is pretending David Luiz is a long-term fix for the Gunners’ defensive woes and Napoli may hold the answer to their problems.

He has just been backed by the Arsenal board, but there’s only so much more poor form the club’s hierarchy can tolerate before sacking Unai Emery. Whoever they appoint after him, the new man would probably look to sort out that leaky backline immediately.

Possible Destination: Arsenal


Allan

Marques Allan

At the back-end of the 2018/19 campaign, numerous reports surfaced suggesting Allan ​had his heart set on joining Paris Saint-Germain, the Brazilian informing Ancelotti and co of his desire to go.

Apparently, his compatriots at the Parc des Princes had spoken to him about the prospect of a transfer to Ligue 1, with the midfielder swiftly deciding he wanted a new challenge in France.

A deal never materialised, yet the situation is different following the latest Neapolitan scandal. Di Laurentiis could be looking to start afresh and Allan could be getting his wishes met.

Possible Destination: Paris Saint-Germain


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter!

Let’