Morientes comes in from the cold at Liverpool
Spanish striker Fernando Morientes says his
desire for regular football persuaded him to swap Real Madrid for
Morientes, presented on Friday after completing his move from the
Spanish giants, already has his eye on Saturday's Premier League match
against Manchester United at Anfield.
Morientes had been frozen out at Real after returning from last season's
loan spell at Monaco to find that Liverpool's Michael Owen had added to
the competition from Raul and Ronaldo for a place up front.
Asked if Owen's arrival at the Bernabeu had led to his own departure,
the 28-year-old said: "Perhaps you are right, but it was a few things
that made up my mind.
"I want to be playing regular football and enjoying the ups and downs of
a team. And that hasn't been happening."
Morientes, the Champions League's top scorer as he guided Monaco to last
season's final, added: "I have seen Liverpool on television, they have a
great history and I couldn't turn down this opportunity.
"As soon as a contract was in front of me, I told my agent I wanted to
sign for them.
"I have had eight unforgettable years at Real Madrid but when you are a
professional footballer moving is something that happens in your career."
The Spaniard, who had dinner with Owen and former Real Madrid team mate
Steve McManaman in Liverpool on Thursday, is expected to partner Euro
2004 leading scorer Milan Baros against Manchester United.
"Milan is the player I will be playing closest to," he said. "Having
seen a lot of Liverpool, I have seen him play and he is a player I
believe I can combine with."
As for his physical condition, Morientes said: "I want to play against
Manchester United -- my last full game was the European Cup final. I am
fit, but do not have full match sharpness."
Liverpool's Spanish manager Rafael Benitez confirmed he had originally
tried to sign Morientes when Owen moved to Spain in August but he had
preferred to stay and fight for his place.
"When we sold Michael Owen we asked about Morientes but he had made a
promise to (former Real coach) Jose Camacho that he would stay," he said.
"But once Camacho went it was more difficult for Morientes to play. He
changed his mind so we talked to him and his agent and knew he wanted to