Former Juventus forward Alvaro Morata has revealed that head coach Massimiliano Allegri blocked him from joining Barcelona in January.
The 29-year-old was in the latter stages of his two-year loan spell with the Italian giants from parent club Atletico Madrid when Barca expressed their interest in the Spain international.
Morata scored 32 goals and registered 21 assists in 92 appearances during his loan spell at Juve, which caught the eye of Barca head coach Xavi, but the forward claims that a potential switch to Camp Nou was stopped by Allegri.
“It’s true, there was interest from Barcelona,” Morata told Cadena Ser. “Xavi called me, we talked about football, about everything.
“It was a pleasure, I appreciated that a former player like Xavi was counting on me, it made me feel good.
“I had four or five good opportunities (to leave Juventus), but Allegri blocked everything. He was clear: ‘I want you to stay, I want to see you play with [Dusan] Vlahovic’. It was an effort for me to play on the left, but I did it.”
Barcelona eventually spent around £50m on Manchester City forward Ferran Torres in the winter window, and they also recruited Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal on a free transfer.
Morata, who began his career with Real Madrid, admitted earlier this summer that there were “several teams” interested in signing him ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
“I have quite a few options. It’s not up to me. The good thing is that there are several teams,” the Spaniard told journalist Matteo Moretto.
“I would like to be where they love me the most and value me. In the last two places I’ve been I’ve been very happy because there are wonderful people.”
Morata was linked with a potential return to the Premier League, with Manchester United, Arsenal and former club Chelsea allegedly interested in his services.
However, the forward decided to remain at the Wanda Metropolitano with Atletico, where he is under contract until June 2024.
Morata has made a promising start to the new campaign, scoring three goals in six La Liga appearances, including a brace in the 3-0 victory at Getafe on the opening weekend.
The 56-cap Spain international has been included in Luis Enrique‘s squad for their UEFA Nations League fixtures against Switzerland and Portugal this week.