Joselu Mato explains decision to leave Real Madrid – “My role wouldn’t have been the same”

Departing Real Madrid striker Joselu Mato has explained that the increase competition for places was behind his decision to move to Qatar this summer. Joselu has agreed to move to AL-Gharafa on a two-year deal thought to be worth around €17m.

The 34-year-old was key for Los Blancos last year, scoring 17 goals, including a famous brace against Bayern Munich to see them through to the Champions League final. Real Madrid executed their €1.5m buy option and sold him for the same price to Al-Gharafa, something he thanked them for – former club Espanyol were looking to negotiate a larger deal.

“It was the right time to take that step and simply thank Madrid for helping me carry out the operation. There are some good years coming in Madrid with very young players.”

Yet with Endrick Felipe and Kylian Mbappe arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, Joselu felt he would not get sufficient game time.

“What pushes you a little is the desire to continue competing, perhaps my role this year would not have been the same as last year. I’m going to a very good country and I think it was the perfect time to be able to take that step. What I didn’t want was to go to another European club, I have left in the best possible way, winning titles.”

Carlo Ancelotti had been keen to hold onto Joselu, and felt he would still have plenty of chances, but Joselu said he was taking things as they come. Speaking from the Spain camp at Euro 2024, he also said he would not be retiring from Spain duty if Luis de la Fuente wanted him.

“The truth is that at the moment I am now… I enjoy it every day. It is not easy to arrive at Madrid at 33 years old. You have to give value to everything. Everything comes around and I am very happy with everything I have learned and enjoyed during my career, it is not easy. I wish I could have spent 10 years at Real Madrid.”

Tags Euro 2024 Joselu Mato Real Madrid Spain La Roja
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