Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata hailed by Diego Simeone and Koke: We hope he has off night

The striker was signed from Real Madrid for £70m in the summer to effectively replace Diego Costa.

He has since completed his return to Atletico and reunited with Simeone.

While Costa won’t be able to feature at Wanda Metropolitano tonight for Chelsea and Atletico’s Champions League clash, Morata is expected to start for the visitors.

Antonio Conte has seen the 24-year-old settle quickly into English football, scoring six times in six Premier League games.

Simeone came up against Morata during Atletico and Real’s Madrid derbies.

And the Argentinian is well aware of the traits the Chelsea goalscorer possesses.

“I’ll talk about Morata,” Simeone said ahead of today’s game.

“I’ll not talk about Costa because he’s not playing for Chelsea any more.

“Morata is a very important player, with great movement in the box, he knows how to play with his back to goal and can keep the ball.

“He’ll perform really well at Chelsea as the great player that he is.”

Atletico midfielder Koke echoed Simeone’s praise for his international team-mate, one of six Spaniards who could feature for the Blues tonight (7.45pm).

The 25-year-old is hoping Morata, who netted a hat-trick at Stoke on Saturday, has a quiet night on his return to Madrid.

“There are many Spanish players at Chelsea and they are scoring goals like my friend Morata,” Koke said.

“Everything he touches is hitting the back of the net.

“Let’s hope they do not have a good day tomorrow.”

Nigeria Invites Mikel, Moses, Ighalo, 20 Others for Zambia

Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser, Gernot Rohr, has called up 23 players for the all-important 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against the Chipolopolo of Zambia in Uyo on Oct. 7.

A statement from the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday in Abuja listed team skipper Mikel Obi among the call-ups.

China-based forward Odion Ighalo and England-based Victor Moses, who were prominent in the team against Cameroon earlier this month, retained their places.

South Africa-based Daniel Akpeyi and Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi are however returning to the team after injury knocked them out of the sessions against the African champions earlier this month.

Defenders Leon Balogun, Abdullahi Shehu, William Ekong and Elderson Echiejile also made the list, while midfielders Wilfred Ndidi, Ogenyi Onazi and Oghenekaro Etebo were also included.

Ahmed Musa, Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon and Anthony Nwakaeme also earned call-ups.

Portugal-based goalkeeper Dele Alampasu dropped to the standby sector, alongside wing back Tyronne Ebuehi, with two home-based professionals, Ifeanyi Ifeanyi and Afeez Aremu, joining them.

Both Ifeanyi and Aremu were part of the Super Eagles B team which finished as runners-up at the just-ended WAFU Cup of Nations in Ghana.

All invited players are expected to report in Uyo on Monday.

Nigeria host Zambia on Oct. 7 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, with a minimum win needed to guarantee them a sixth FIFA World Cup appearance.

Qualification will mean the Eagles are landing in Russia for next summer’s event ahead of the final qualifying match away to Algeria in November.


Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Ayodele Ajiboye (Plateau United FC)

Defenders: William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Elderson Echiejile (Sivasspor FC, Turkey); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Chang Chun-Yatai, China); Victor Moses (Chelsea FC, England); Anthony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

STANDBY: Dele Alampasu (Cesarense FC, Portugal); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Aaron Samuel (CSKA Moscow, Russia); Afeez Aremu (Akwa United); Ifeanyi Ifeanyi (Akwa United).

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