Striker Alvaro Morata has become the most expensive Spaniard in football history after sealing a mega-money move from Real Madrid to Chelsea.
A golden decade for Spanish football has seen Real Madrid and Barcelona take turns at dominating Europe, while the national team won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 in a stunning silver-gilded sequence.
Having opted for Stamford Bridge after being heavily linked with Manchester United, there is pressure on the striker to deliver.
How did some of his fellow pricey compatriots fare? We take a look…
Alvaro Morata: Real Madrid to Chelsea – €78m
The new top dog was Madrid’s second highest scorer last season with 20 goals in all competitions. It was not enough to convince Zinedine Zidane that he was the man to lead the line for the European champions’, however. Can he fire Chelsea to a Premier League title defence?
Fernando Torres: Liverpool to Chelsea – €58m
Morata takes the crown as Spain’s costliest from a striker who he may not hope not to emulate at Stamford Bridge.
Torres became the most expensive player in Premier League history when Chelsea shelled out to sign him from Liverpool in January 2011.
A solitary goal followed in the remainder of the 2010-11 campaign, and Torres – so destructively prolific at Anfield – went into a tailspin as his Blues career failed to take off, although he entered Chelsea folklore in scoring against Barcelona in the semi-finals en route to a 2012 Champions League triumph.
Gaizka Mendieta: Valencia to Lazio – €48m
Mendieta was the star turn in a Valencia side that lost successive Champions League finals after the turn of the millennium, prompting a money-spinning move to Lazio.
He stayed just a season in Serie A, however, failing to score in 31 appearances and joining Barcelona on loan the following season.
Having been named Europe’s best midfielder just two years earlier, Mendieta then joined Middlesbrough, where he played out his career, amassing cult-hero status on Teesside.
Juan Mata: Chelsea to Manchester United – €45m
Having won Chelsea’s Player of the Year award two years running, Mata probably didn’t expect to end up surplus to requirements, but that’s exactly what happened when Jose Mourinho returned to Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United offered Mata an escape route for a then club-record fee, but fears for his Old Trafford future were raised when Mourinho took over.
The amiable playmaker has enjoyed a key part in Mourinho’s Red Devils side to date, however.
David Villa: Valencia to Barcelona – €40m
Only Luis Figo’s controversy-drenched move from Barcelona to Real Madrid has seen more money change hands in a LaLiga transfer than Villa’s switch to Camp Nou from Valencia.
Villa won a double of LaLiga and Champions League in his first season at Camp Nou, scoring a peach in the latter’s Wembley final against Manchester United.
However, his subsequent two years at Barca were hampered by injuries and a struggle to shift Lionel Messi from the central striking role.
Javi Martinez: Athletic Bilbao to Bayern Munich – €40m
Whether playing as a bustling box-to-box midfielder or forward-thinking centre-back in Marcelo Bielsa’s Europa League final-making Athletic Bilbao side, Martinez was swiftly earmarked as a top-level star.
Bundesliga giants Bayern forked out a record fee to bring Martinez to Germany in 2012, but his career at the Allianz Arena has been injury-hit.
Regardless, Martinez has tasted Bundesliga glory in all five of his seasons in Bavaria, and was a Champions League winner in 2013.
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