Fernando Morientes: Remembering Moro’s Top 5 Career Moments

On someone’s birthday, it is customary to…well, celebrate them a bit. Generally be nice. Here at 90min, it’s no different so, on Fernando Morientes’ 44th birthday, it is only right to honour the former Real Madrid and Spain frontman.

If you’re a Premier League aficionado, you might be focussed on the 18 unsuccessful months he spent on Merseyside, but the Madrista frontman enjoyed eight sparkling seasons at the Bernabéu, pocketing three Champions League medals in that span.

In a brilliant 17-year career, Morientes played for eight clubs across Europe and plundered 235 goals for club and country. 

Feliz cumpleaños Moro.

Champions League Glory in 1998

Joining ​Los Merengues from Real Zaragoza for approximately €6.6m, ​a 21-year-old Morientes was initially unsure if he could make the grade at such a prestigious club.

“I thought I’d have to adapt in my first season and see if I was able to play at such a high level because I was coming from a smaller club,” Morientes recalls.

It didn’t take as long as he thought. Fernando hit the ground running, immediately leading Real Madrid’s line during their successful 1997/98 ​Champions League campaign, bagging the crucial first goal in Madrid’s semi-final win over ​Borussia Dortmund in a 2-0 aggregate victory. 

Playing as the first-team striker, Morientes helped end a 32-year hoodoo for the club since their last European title with a 1-0 victory over ​Juventus in 1998. 

5-Star Against Las Palmas

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​In the 2001/02 season, lowly U.D Las Palmas visited the Santiago Bernabéu in February. Surprisingly, the Canary Islands club had beaten ​Los Merengues 4-2 earlier in the season and it’s safe to say that Madrid were hungry for revenge.

They were successful in enacting that revenge, running out 7-0 winners. Morientes grabbed five goals – four with his head – as Las Palmas had absolutely no answer. 

Moro at his finest. 

One Night in Paris

Even though Morientes has said that his favourite ​Champions League success was his first, breaking Real’s long-anticipated wait for European glory, his performance in 2000 was more impactful. 

Squaring off in an all-Spanish affair against Valencia, ​Real Madrid were considered strong favourites against Héctor Cúper’s side. In a convincing 3-0 win, Morientes stamped his impact on the game with the first goal. 

In the 29th minute, Nicolas Anelka’s byline cross didn’t make it past the first man, but a battling Míchel Salgado nipped in to win it back. A scooped cross from the right-back was sent to the back post, where the lethal Moro is waiting to head in.

Real Madrid would never look back, and a scissor kick from Steve McManaman would eventually steal the headlines, but it was Morientes who had sent them on their way. 

Monaco’s Quarter-Final Clash

Some players just have the knack in particular competitions. Luckily for Morientes, it was the ​Champions League. With the Galacticos era in full swing in 2003, he was deemed surplus to requirements and was loaned to Monaco.

Fernando was less than happy about the move and got the opportunity for Real Madrid’s upper management to rue that decision later in the season, as the Monégasques faced Moro’s parent club in the quarter finals.

Masterminded by then-boss Didier Deschamps, a team that included elite talent like Ludovic Guily, Patrice Evra and Morientes toppled Real to shock the footballing world.

Moro scored in both the home and away legs as the French club went through on away goals. Revenge can be so sweet. 

The 2002 World Cup

Luis Enrique,Fernando Morientes,Gary Breen

“I always think that being part of your national team is the pinnacle of your professional career. It’s amazing to play for great teams but in the end, wearing your national teams’ shirt is the top of what you can aspire to do as a professional footballer.”

Well said, Moro. 

Fernando pulled on the Spain shirt 47 times and took his opportunity with both hands; Morientes is the fifth all-time goalscorer for his country.

The 2002 Spain side were the most complete Morientes played with and they looked set to reach the nation’s first World Cup semi-final – but Egyptian referee Gamal Al-Ghandour constantly gave big decisions against them in their quarter-final against hosts South Korea, and the Spaniards were knocked out on penalties. 


Valencia Star Tipped to Replace Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi at Juventus

​Juventus forwards Douglas Costa and Federico Bernardeschi could be on their way out of Turin to make room for Valencia star Ferran Torres, with the Spanish youngster said to be high up on the Bianconeri’s wishlist.

Inheriting the current squad, former Napoli and Chelsea boss Marurizio Sarri has been on the lookout for players to fit his 4-3-3 ‘Sarriball’ style of play, with a helping hand from chief football officer Fabio Paratici. 

Douglas Costa,Federico Bernardeschi

Trying to fit in all the big names – ​Cristiano Ronaldo, ​Paulo Dybala and ​Gonzalo Higuain among others – into the starting XI has proved a difficult task for Sarri, while the club’s wingers have struggled; possibly as a result.

Costa should be in his footballing prime at 29 years old, but the bosses of Turin feel that the Brazilian international is too injury-prone and not consistent enough. 

Italy international Bernardeschi is in a similar situation, having been bought for £35m on a five-year deal back in 2017. The general consensus at Juventus is that, flashes of genuine quality aside, there has been little improvement in performances over the last three years. 

Federico Bernardeschi

In the January transfer window, Juve failed to flog Bernardeschi to ​Barcelona while a part-exchange offer from​ AC Milan – including Lucas Paqueta – was turned down rather quickly. If it wasn’t clear that Juve only want money towards their hunt for a replacement winger, a part-exchange deal for Costa from ​Bayern Munich was also rejected in January. 

Torres has turned down two contract extensions at Valencia so far as Juventus and Barcelona look to get their man – and he’s unlikely to be bought for his full release clause of €100m, with just over a year left on his contract.


Liverpool’s Misguided Decision to Furlough Staff Should Be Held Against Owners – Not the Whole Club

Over the last few years, Liverpool have developed a reputation as one of the best sporting institutions in the world to work for, with, or alongside. 

‘It’s like a family’ is the line you so often hear, whether it be from the groundskeepers and the catering staff on the periphery or the players and coaches at the centre of it all. 

They’re the last club you would expect to defer the payment of staff wages to the government in a time of national crisis. 

That’s what they ​announced they would do on Saturday, however, and that announcement has been met with a rare show of unity in fans from all parts of the country, and all walks of life. 

Every single one of them was disgusted. 

This was a serious, reckless, grave error of judgement, and one that will likely have consequences far greater than £2.25m they are projected to save (per ​Goal). 

Even when you consider that they will make up the 20% of salary not covered by the government’s job retention scheme, even when you consider they will pay anything over and above the £2,500 cap imposed by Westminster, and even when you consider they claim to be ‘fully committed’ to ensuring no member of staff is out of pocket; this could not have been handled more poorly. 

A business decision was made to save some money in a time when their revenue streams will be hit hard. But this is a corporation worth billions, owned by a billionaire, doing business on a daily basis that utterly dwarfs the sums in discussion here. 

In context, they’ve saved some pocket change, but what they failed to consider is the message it sends to staff and the wider footballing community. 

In times like this, when people are down, fearing the worst, and in many cases scared for their lives, the club’s words aren’t enoughIn their actions, they should be telling their staff clearly and coherently: ‘we’ll take care of you.’

Instead, they’ve put their foot in it and said ‘we’ve got money to make, someone else can do it instead.’ 

With one financially-motivated decision, the corporate masterminds, who might as well be working on another planet, have shown they could not be further removed from the football operation they so graciously profit from.

To Jurgen Klopp, Vicky Jepson, Michael Edwards and everyone involved with Liverpool FC as a football club right down to ground level, the Bill Shankly mantra of compassion before anything else is alive and well. 

That was apparent in Klopp’s ​heartfelt message to supporters last week. It was apparent when the news emerged that Jordan Henderson proactively ​organised a movement among Premier League captains to donate a percentage of wages to the NHS – the priceless health service whose value can know no bounds at the best of times, let alone now.

Sadio Mané donated a substantial sum to help fight coronavirus in his native Senegal, while Andy Robertson has used his time off to throw himself into helping food banks keep up with the tragically increasing demand. 

The players and staff are doing all they can to help each other out and lift society out of the doldrums imposed on it by a deadly and unpredictable virus. The board, meanwhile, have shirked responsibility to save a few extra quid at the expense of the taxpayer.

At a football club, there’s a holy trinity: the players, the manager and the supporters. Directors don’t come into it. They are only there to sign the cheques. – Bill Shankly

It’s no surprise that within a day of the decision, reports were already emerging of discontent among the senior players. 

Liverpool Football Club Limited is a corporation which finances ​Liverpool FC, the football team. But now, more than ever, it’s important to remember that it is no more than that. 

The difference is simple. Those who run the club at boardroom level have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the club is about. They often make the right call, but at the heart of it is always financial gain. That’s the only explanation as to why they were able to overlook the startling human implications of publicly invoking a legal loophole to put its own staff on the government payroll instead of their own. 

To Liverpool FC, the team and the community, who have a clear understanding of the ethos that keeps the fans, staff and players together as one, that is unfathomable.

The situation is a sad reminder that even the seemingly untouchable Liverpool, who have been the gold standard for decision-making at all levels, are not immune to the cutthroat, cash-first nature of modern football. 

But even more crucially, it underlines the separation between the company in the football club. 

Millionaire corporations will always be millionaire corporations however you dress them up, but now more than ever, Liverpool – club, players, fans and staff – are something to be proud of. 


7 Challenges to Set Yourself for a New Football Manager Save With AC Milan

With stadiums closed, pubs shutting their doors and Sunday League matches now heavily frowned upon, the sports-loving contingent of the world’s population is in desperate need of a new way to waste time.

Procrastinators, layabouts and couch potatoes need fortunately look no further than the slayer of A-Levels, the conqueror of healthy sleep patterns, the Crown Prince of Social Distancing before it was in vogue – that’s right, Football Manager.

Your first port of call? A once-proud Italian heavyweight laid low by ill fortune (and bad decisions) – here are seven challenges to take on at your new job managing AC Milan.

Nine Consecutive Scudetti

AC Milan players hold the Scudetto troph

It’s been pretty difficult going for anyone not called ‘Juventus’ in Serie A since 2011, to the point where the engravers are probably writing Juve’s name on the trophy in August to save time.

Can you go back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back with the Rossoneri and restore some dignity to a league that’s been spending a little too much time under Turin’s boot?

Beat Maldini’s Appearance Record

Schevchenko, Maldini and Bierhoff

I’ve taken the liberty of crunching the numbers and it’s still pretty unclear how Paolo Maldini was able to rack up 902 appearances for Milan, there must have been something pretty special in the half-time oranges at San Siro.

Can you topple the ultimate one-club man and forge a new Mr Reliable in northern Italy? A certain Gianluigi Donnarumma might be more than obliging…

Treble Winners


Trivia question – which is the only Italian side to do the treble? That’s right, it’s Inter, and we HATE those guys.

Show Inter just how easy and pathetic their achievement was by winning Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League, and feel free to add any other trophies along the way for extra bragging rights.

Build a New Stadium

AC Milan v Genoa CFC - Serie A

Speaking of the Nerazzurri, why should you have to share a stadium with them? It’s like having to let your little brother have a go on the GameCube all the time.

Have a word with the board, because it’s time to get your own place that you don’t have to politely shuffle out of every other weekend.

Win 14 Champions Leagues

Kaka,Filippo Inzaghi

Milan and the Champions League trophy go together like Tottenham Hotspur and dodgy lasagnes, but a certain Real Madrid-shaped club has made people forget about how hard you used to go in European competition.

Can you roll back the years and go from the second-most Champions Leagues won to the most? All you need is a paltry seven victories in the competition.

Set the World-Record Transfer Fee

Ruud Gullit of AC Milan races to intercept the ball

What would Silvio Berlusconi think of the fact that his former club haven’t paid any of the world’s top 50 transfer fees? They’ll be moving Milan fashion week to another city soon if you don’t get back to your former level of opulence quick.

Beg, borrow and steal your way to the world’s record transfer fee, and then you can finally do justice to the city that gave us Prada.

Make the Team Weird

Fabio Borini,Giacomo Bonaventura,Samuel Castillejo

If there’s one thing you currently associate Milan with, it’s an esoteric starting XI with plenty of (mainly faded) footballers from various countries, from Hakan Çalhanoğlu, to Ante Rebić and most recently Zlatan Ibrahimović himself.

But we can get weirder.

With the minimum number of Italian players that you can register, construct a truly cosmopolitan team where no two players can be the same nationality, and see if you can conquer the world with your globetrotters.


Leicester City Eyeing Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos But Face Stiff Competition Across Europe

​Leicester City are the latest Premier League team to be linked with Rangers’ hot-headed star striker Alfredo Morelos. 

The Foxes are now added to a long list of clubs interested in the Colombian, which includes other Premier League clubs like Newcastle, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, as well as some European clubs including Atlético Madrid, Sevilla and Inter. 

Morelos has been in fine goalscoring form for Steven Gerrard’s side, the Ibrox man notching 29 strikes in 46 appearances this season. 

​Goal report that ​Leicester City can expect to spend around £35m to secure the signature of the 23-year-old. With the possibility of ​Champions League football in the offing, the Foxes are looking to bolster their squad to be competitive in two competitions. 

As the club prepares for the substantial windfall from Europe’s premier competition, Morelos has been identified to add crucial goalscoring assistance for ​Jamie Vardy. 

Rangers appear resigned to losing their player even though Morelos has a contract running until 2023. The Colombian’s representatives have made it clear that he intends to leave, and had attempted to engineer a move in January.

Alfredo Morelos

The Gers have shortlisted a selection of players to replace the hole that the striker is certain to leave. Some of the more eye-catching names that have been reportedly selected by the Scottish club include ​Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster and Bordeaux’s Josh Maja, formerly of Sunderland.

Ever since Morelos’ move from Finish side HJK in 2017, the Colombian has showcased a level of goalscoring that will be difficult to replace for the Scottish side. A key aspect of Morelos’ play is the player’s continual development season on season. The striker managed 18 goals in his first season in the SPL, followed by 30 in the next.