sport news Euro 2020: Can Spain striker Alvaro Morata get the better of Italy captain ...

sport news Euro 2020: Can Spain striker Alvaro Morata get the better of Italy captain ...
sport news Euro 2020: Can Spain striker Alvaro Morata get the better of Italy captain ...

For a player whose confidence and form in front of goal fluctuates wildly, Spain's Alvaro Morata might just have his work cut out in and around the penalty area tonight. 

In captain Giorgio Chiellini and partner Leonardo Bouncci, Italy manager Roberto Mancini believes he has the best centre back pairing in the world. And Morata, a former team-mate to both at Juventus, is all too aware of what he is up against. 

Back in 2017 before a World Cup qualifier, Morata described playing - and training - against Chiellini as 'like being put in a cage with a gorilla and you have to steal his food!' 

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini comes up against Spain's Alvaro Morata again - just like at Euro 2016

Italy's Giorgio Chiellini comes up against Spain's Alvaro Morata again - just like at Euro 2016 

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The pair were team-mates at Juventus, with Morata shortly after saying competing against Chiellini as 'like being put in a cage with a gorilla and you have to steal his food!'

The pair were team-mates at Juventus, with Morata shortly after saying competing against Chiellini as 'like being put in a cage with a gorilla and you have to steal his food!'

He continued; 'Who causes most problems for me? Chiellini... I think the few times I've managed to score against him it's been in the area.

'It's impossible to win a duel with Chiellini if it's one-on-one in the box or he's holding you.'

Impossible, is it? That does not exactly bode well ahead of tonight's clash in the last four of a major tournament. 

The pair first came accustomed to one another in the summer of 2014, when Morata joined Juventus from Real Madrid. 

At 22, it was in Turin where the Spaniard made the first serious leap of his career, scoring 15 goals in a season which saw Juve win Serie A and reach the final of the Champions League. 

Competing against Chiellini and Bonucci in training was a fire of baptism for Morata. But, by all accounts, he performed admirably during his two-year stay in Italy.  

Chiellini produced a man-of-the-match display when Italy beat Spain in Paris at Euro 2016

Chiellini produced a man-of-the-match display when Italy beat Spain in Paris at Euro 2016 

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The talismanic Italian defender scored the opening goal in the last-16 victory at the last Euros

The talismanic Italian defender scored the opening goal in the last-16 victory at the last Euros 

Fascinatingly, their first match-up against each other came just six days after Real bought him back, amid Euro 2016. 

Spain were defending champions - gunning for a third straight Euros - but were outfought and out-battled by the Italians in Paris, 

Chiellini in particular, got the better of Morata. Not only did he win nearly all the aerial

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