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Jose Luis Morales explains decision to join Villarreal amid impending Levante exit

The Yellow Submarine are set to land the veteran

Real Madrid v Levante - La Liga Santander
Morales is emotional to leave Levante
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Levante star Jose Luis Morales is to complete his move to Villarreal in the coming days.

The 34-year-old winger has become a La Liga favourite over the years, affectionately nicknamed ‘El Comandante’.

Morales has been with Levante since 2011 - albeit with a loan spell with Eibar in between - and has become a club legend with Las Granotas.

But Levante suffered relegation to the second tier this season, and the long-serving winger does not plan to go with them.

Morales will join local rivals Villarreal this summer, joining up with Unai Emery and testing his talents, for the first time, at the upper level of La Liga, while also getting the chance to play in Europe.

The 34-year-old initially told Levante fans he would stay in spite of relegation, but he went back on his word.

“The call from Emery and his help has been important in accepting the offer from Villarreal” he told Cadena Ser.

And the veteran went on to explain why he did change his mind after initially committing his future to what he describes as ‘the club of his life’.

He added: “That day I spoke with my heart in my hand, I said it because I felt it. But from the time I said it until I left, things happen and circumstances arose that lead me to make the decision to leave.

“A simple and plain professional decision. I am 35 years old (As of July 23), my feeling towards Levante is not going to change, it is the club of my life even if people do not believe me.

“When the season ended I thought about my professional future and the possibility of playing in Europe arose, in a team very close to my home and I considered leaving my comfort zone.

“The easy thing would have been to stay here, but professionally, other experiences go through my head.”

Levante UD v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander
Morales will be in yellow next season
Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Morales continued: “It has not been an easy decision, I have slept very little, especially when I went to inform the club of the departure.

“With this decision I seek to find my limit as a professional, I told Quico that the challenge of moving Levante to the first division was very nice but I had already done it before and was looking for other experiences”.

Interestingly, Morales will still play his home games at Levante for the first half of next season, with Villarreal playing the first half of their campaign at Cuitat de Valencia due to construction works at Estadio de la Ceramica.

Morales will join for a small fee, a year before his contract at Levante is due to come to an end.