Old school guys are the main characters in LaLiga. A few weeks ago we talked about Suárez (19 goals) and Gerard Moreno (21) for their great season, both behind Messi in the top scorers table, as he has 29 goals. I also wrote about Negredo´s second youth at Cádiz. They are all difference maker players, key parts with huge numbers. In Spain the list is pretty long, not only forward, but in every area of the pitch. However, today I am going to focus on a specific player that keeps showing his class year after year and that, despite having had his entire career here, we tend to underestimate.
José Luis Morales Nogales is a charismatic player; Levante UD´s heart. Since he finished his only season in Eibar in 2014, the ‘Commander’ has become the leader of his team. He stayed for the transition year in the second division and his excellent performances are one of the keys for Levante to stay in LaLiga every year without struggling too much.
Morales reached the 200 games with the team from Valencia at the end of January and, he extended his contract until 2023 after their qualification to the Spanish Cup semifinals. It is tough to understand why the club has taken so long to renew their bond, as it was going to end in June, as he had already expressed his desire to retire at Levante, despite his level keeps being high.
Morales is a left winger with the scoring ability that can also act as a ‘playmaker’ or even as a striker. His extraordinary athleticism allows him to make the most out of spaces and overcome their opponents through his speed. At the same time, he is also a very technical player with great dribbling. As he usually plays on the left side, he tends to challenge the defenders to go to the middle. However, I want to reaffirm his freedom to move around the attack, as he sometimes also creates danger from the right. The best example of his playing characteristics is the astonishing goal that he scored against Betis a couple seasons ago.
He is an incredible assistant as well. He has found forward Roger Martí as ‘partner in crime’. Moreover, he also connects perfectly with second line players such as Melero or Jorge de Frutos when he gets to the finishing line. Maybe his only weak could be his ups and downs on his performing level, but he is a top class player. He has already scored 13 goals (12 in LaLiga and one in the Spanish Cup) and five assists (three in LaLiga and two in the Spanish Cup) at the age of 33. There are still two games left and he is only two goals away from any Levante´s player record ever in a single LaLiga´s season.
A legend and a leader for Levante, the ‘Commander’ keeps adding contributions to his club while coach Paco López´s team grows at the same time.
Translated by Guillermo Bermejo.