Being a top football player brings fame and fortune, but there is also a very dark side that comes with it. This became evident once again as Spain striker Alvaro Morata opened up about receiving death threats and horrible messages about his children because fans are not satisfied with his performance at Euro 2020.
The Juventus striker began taking heat after Spain only managed a draw against Sweden on Matchday 1. Luis Enrique backed his striker, saying that fans will easily forget their woes once Morata starts scoring later in the competition.
However, fans have been relentless in their bashing of the 28-year-old both on and off the pitch. He has been receiving abuse on social media, and live matches have been disrupted by loud jeers and chants against him. Against Poland, Morata scored Spain's lone goal but it was cancelled out by an equaliser from Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski.
"I didn't sleep for nine hours after the match against Poland," he said, while speaking to "El Partidazo de COPE."
He elaborated on the extent of the abuse, saying "I've received death threats, insults to my family, that I hope my children die... but I'm fine, maybe a few years ago I would have been upset. I've spent a few weeks isolated from everything."
Luckily, Spain has advanced to the round-of-16 thanks to a 5-0 thrashing of Slovakia. However, Morata did not score that evening after missing a penalty. "Maybe I haven't done my job as I should have. I understand that people criticise me because I haven't scored a goal, but I wish people would put themselves in my shoes: to be told that your children should die..." he said.
Morata explained that he is able to isolate himself from the criticism, but he is bothered by the fact that haters are able to reach his family. "What bothers me is that they say it to my wife, that they say it to my children. They tell them everything."
He shared that some Spanish football legends have been helping him get past the criticism. "[Iker] Casillas, Raul [Gonzalez] and [Pepe] Reina and many others have told me not to give criticism any importance."
Spain will be facing Croatia on Monday in the round-of-16.