Atletico Madrid signs Alvaro Morata on loan from Chelsea

MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid has signed striker Alvaro Morata on an 18-month loan from Chelsea, ending his miserable stay in English soccer following a club-record move from Real Madrid for $75 million.

Morata signed with Atletico on Monday, bringing him back to the club where he started playing as a child. The 26-year-old Spaniard passed his medical exam on Sunday in Madrid.

Morata played in Atletico's youth program before joining Real Madrid's academy in 2008. He eventually became a first-team player for Real Madrid and helped it win two Champions League titles.

His links to Real Madrid caused some Atletico fans to protest against the transfer. Part of the crowd attending the team's 2-0 win over Getafe on Saturday criticized the player's signing.

Morata returns to the Spanish league after a disappointing year-and-a-half with Chelsea.

He arrives to a team with forwards including Antoine Griezmann, Victor "Vitolo" Machin, Nikola Kalinic and Diego Costa.

On Sunday, Atletico said it agreed to loan Portugal forward Gelson Martins to Monaco for the remainder of the season.

Atletico trails Spanish league leader Barcelona by five points after 21 matches. It will face Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League on Feb. 20.

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