Andrea Barzagli warns Álvaro Morata and Spain ahead of Monday's encounter

With the last-16 tie in Paris on Monday afternoon just over 24 hours away, both sides are preparing for the first big encounter of the European Championships.

Andrea Barzagli warns Álvaro Morata and Spain ahead of Monday's encounter
Picture source: Getty Images

Juventus centre-back Andrea Barzagli has warned striker Álvaro Morata that there are "no friends" on the pitch, and insisted the Italy players are studying their Spanish counterparts very carefully ahead of their last-16 tie.

 

The encounter itself is scheduled for a 5pm UK time on Monday afternoon in Paris, and Barzagli said the team are collectively "very disappointed" at the loss of winger Antonio Candreva through injury, because he performed "great in the first two games".

Italy missing Candreva, but eager for progression nonetheless

Morata, who joined Juventus in the summer of 2014, netted 27 goals and created 19 assists since his €20m switch from Real Madrid. Zinedine Zidane's side have exercised their buyback clause to bring Morata back from Juve for €30m - having inserted the option in his contract before initially letting him go.

Morata (pictured, middle) celebrates his strike against Turkey - one of three goals he's netted at this tournament. | Photo: Getty
Morata (pictured, middle) celebrates his strike against Turkey - one of three goals he's netted at this tournament. | Photo: Getty

Barzagli had this to say, about friendships and maintaining focus when the first whistle blows:

"There are no friends on the pitch - I struggle even to say helllo to them before kick-off, as it's an issue of concentration. Morata is one of many dangers in the Spain side, they have a lot of quality and we must be wary of everyone."

Italy's backline will have eyes on Morata

Morata has been keen to get himself involved more often and is trying his best off-the-ball - although some critics have suggested he's trying too hard, especially with the vast depth of quality within the side to find him in promising positions toward goal.

Amongst them include Barcelona's Andrés Iniesta and Manchester City playmaker David Silva, the former was cited by Barzagli as the one player he'd happily remove from the Spain squad considering he's "clearly their best player", and one of "the best of all-time."

"We'll fight the way we usually do - we might be ugly, do the dirty work, but we will give everything to hurt Spain."

Quotes' source: Football Italia