Spain striker Alvaro Morata said he has received vicious abuse on social media during Euro 2020 and that his wife and children have been shouted at on the streets of Seville.
Morata has been the centre of attention since before the tournament began after being booed by Spain fans in a friendly with Portugal and then missing big opportunities in the 0-0 draw with Sweden and 1-1 draw with Poland.
He also missed a penalty in Spain’s 5-0 win over Slovakia on Wednesday.
“I would like people to put themselves in my shoes and think what it’s like to get threats towards my family, people saying ‘I hope your children die’. I’ve had to leave my phone outside my room,” Morata told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope.
“My wife and children have come to the stadium in Seville with Morata on the back of their shirts and people have been shouting at them. It’s complicated. I understand people booing me for missing chances but there’s a limit.”
Morata said he had a sleepless night after missing the penalty against Slovakia, which set up a last-16 tie with Croatia, but does not regret taking the spot-kick.
He said that despite the abuse and criticism he has faced he feels a huge level of support from his team mates, adding former Spain great Iker Casillas had called him to lift his spirits.
“I’m proud of the fact I picked up the ball (to take the penalty) after people booed me in the warm up. A few years ago I would have been devastated but I’m really motivated. Whoever thinks the opposite doesn’t know me,” he said.
“It’s hard to find a group like this especially in the difficult times. After a week like this I’ve been aware of how everyone looks at me but I look in their eyes and see they are supporting me.”