Juventus striker Alvaro Morata has claimed he "will be grateful" to Jose Mourinho for the "rest of his life" after the current Chelsea manager handed the Spaniard his first team debut at Real Madrid.
The 22-year-old forward used to be considered one of the next big things to emerge from the Real Madrid academy and the Portuguese boss didn't hesitate to give him his first cameo at the age of 18 during a 3-1 victory over Zaragoza in 2010.
Having since developed into one of the most promising strikers around Europe following his summer move to Juventus, Morata is expected to replace injured Diego Costa as Spain's number nine in the upcoming games against Ukraine on 27 March and the Netherlands on 31 March.
Speaking ahead of those duels, Morata has now given some credit to Mourinho for his development after the Portuguese boss handed him his La Liga debut at the Santiago Bernabeu.
"Mourinho could have chosen some other player, but he chose me and I'll be grateful to him for the rest of my life," the Spaniard said.
With Karim Benzema unmovable at Real Madrid, Morata decided to move to Juventus last summer where he has become one of the sensations of Serie A, having scored five goals in his last 10 games.
The Spaniard recently lamented the lack of opportunities given by Mourinho's successor Carlo Ancelotti at Los Blancos, questioning how the Italian manager treated him.
"I still don't understand why at Madrid I went from playing well to sitting in the stands. I didn't ask to be in the starting line-up, but to be treated better... If you train well, you play matches... but it's in the past. I can still get so much better here. I didn't speak much to Ancelotti, he said hello in the morning, gave me some instructions before the games... The truth is I didn't have much to do with him," Morata recently said.
But now the striker has tried to play down his critics to the Italian boss by saying: "I'm grateful to him, under him I played a Champions League final. There were however, situations that I didn't understand too well... It was good for me to leave Madrid. The people who look out for me feel that I'm now better thought of as a player".