Alvaro Morata believes his underwhelming debut season in the Premier League is largely down to a recurring back injury, which has required him to use pain-killing injections in order to play for Chelsea.
Morata joined the Blues in a £58m move from Real Madrid in July and began his career at Stamford Bridge in impressive form, scoring six goals in as many league games at the start of the campaign.
However, the 25-year-old struggled to maintain his bright start and has spent time out of the starting line-up under Antonio Conte due to both a lack of form and ongoing fitness issues.
Morata is now at risk of missing the upcoming World Cup in Russia after being left of Spain’s latest squad that faced Germany and Argentina in March.
The Spaniard has revealed he has been abused in public as a result of his recent struggles at Chelsea and the striker admits he regrets playing through the pain barrier while injured earlier in the campaign.
“It has been a complicated year for me and I don’t think it’s been the best year for the team either,” Morata told Marca. “I’ve gone through a tough year. It all started so well. Everybody loved me and I was scoring goals, but it’s different now.
“People say things to me on the street, but they don’t know what I’ve gone through. The person who does know what I’ve gone through is my wife.
“I would rather have torn a muscle and be out for three months than not know exactly what I had. I wanted to play and to keep scoring, but I couldn’t. I didn’t know what I had.”
Morata added: “I had to go several times to Germany to receive a treatment in which they put injections in my back.
“It hurt a lot and then I would have to return to London to train the next day. I think I made a mistake. I should have stopped playing.
“When you’re injured you’re injured and that’s that. You can maybe play one match, but you can’t carry on for a month.”
Morata admits he is still adapting to life in England but expects to receive favourable treatment from officials now he has become more accustomed to the Premier League.
“I now know what the Premier League is like and what the referees are like,” he said. “I’m starting to befriend them now in the final stretch of the season because it’s the only way for them to call more fouls for you.
“In the first half of the season it was a crazy thing. I protested a lot. One of them even told me that he knew it was a foul, but that he wasn’t going to call it for me.
“This is the style of the Premier League and the likeable one ends up being chosen.”