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Llorente to leave Athletic Bibao

Fernando Llorente says he will leave Athletic Bilbao at the end of the season after failing to agree a new deal with the Liga club.

The Spain international has been linked with a move away from Estadio San Mames throughout 2012 after reportedly falling out with coach Marcelo Bielsa, with Juventus among the clubs who have been rumoured to be interested in the forward.

The 27-year-old is out of contract in June, and when he was questioned at a press conference as to whether he would be departing Athletic, he said: “Yes. It’s not about the money and I have not felt blackmailed by the club.

“Looking back at what has happened since I made my first appearance at San Mames has made this a sad decision.”

Llorente claimed the press has not made the situation any easier for him due to the rumours about his future that have been circulating in the media.

He also thanked the club’s fans and players for their support.

“The press has not helped anything,” he said.

“They have successfully increased the bad environment, but leaving the team is for other reasons.

“I feel loved by the fans. The players are with me and I really appreciate it.”

Llorente said he wants to contribute for the rest of the season, starting with Athletic’s Europa League game against Sparta Prague on Thursday.

“I want to play,” he said.

“The atmosphere will be fantastic, but we must also play our part.”

Tue 4 Dec, 2012
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