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Fernando Llorente

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Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente
Llorente in action for Juventus in 2013
Personal information
Full name Fernando Javier Llorente Torres[1]
Date of birth (1985-02-26) 26 February 1985
Place of birth Pamplona, Spain
Height 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Sevilla
Number 24
Youth career
1994–1995 FC Funes
1995–1996 River Ebro
1996–2003 Athletic Bilbao
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 Baskonia 33 (12)
2004–2005 Bilbao Athletic 16 (4)
2005–2013 Athletic Bilbao 262 (85)
2013–2015 Juventus 66 (23)
2015– Sevilla 7 (2)
National team
2003 Spain U17 3 (2)
2005 Spain U20 4 (5)
2005–2006 Spain U21 9 (5)
2008– Spain 23 (7)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 November 2015.
† Appearances (goals)

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 02:00, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

Fernando Javier Llorente Torres (Spanish pronunciation: ; born 26 February 1985), nicknamed El Rey León ("The Lion King" in Spanish),[2] is a Spanish professional footballer who plays for Sevilla FC as a striker.

Llorente started his career with Athletic Bilbao, working his way through the various youth ranks, and becoming one of the most important offensive players for the club in the following decade, since making his first team debut in 2005. He scored 29 goals for the club in all competitions in the 2011–12 season, and was described as a "Bilbao legend".[3] In 2013 he signed with Juventus, winning the Serie A twice during his two-year spell.

A Spanish international since late 2008, Llorente was a member of the squads which won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Early years

Though born in Pamplona, Llorente grew up in the municipality of Rincón de Soto in La Rioja.[4][5] He joined Athletic Bilbao's youth system in 1996 at the age of 11, being eligible through his Navarrese roots.

Club career

Athletic Bilbao

Llorente in action for Athletic against Hércules, during which he scored the first goal of 2010–11.

Llorente spent several seasons in the various junior levels of the club, moving in 2003 to CD Baskonia of Tercera División,[6] effectively an Athletic youth side and also a feeder club since 1997. He gradually paved his way for promotion to Bilbao Athletic – Athletic's reserve team – in Segunda División B.[7]

After scoring four goals for the B's in the first half of the season, Llorente was awarded with a contract extension until June 2008.[8] On 16 January 2005, he made his first-team – and La Liga – debut in a 1–1 home draw against RCD Espanyol.[9] Three days later, in a Copa del Rey match with UD Lanzarote, he scored a hat-trick in a 6–0 victory,[10] and would go on to feature in all but five of the 19 remaining league games while scoring three goals, and also featuring in four domestic cup matches and the UEFA Cup round-of-32 game against FK Austria Wien.

Before 2005–06, Llorente's squad number was promoted from number 32 to 9.[11] He scored in the opening day, a Basque derby 3–0 win against Real Sociedad[12] but, throughout the campaign, found goals hard to come by, which could be partly attributed to a series of injuries including a knee strain,[13] gastroenteritis[14] and a muscle injury.[15] He ended the season with just four goals, two in the league and as much in the Cup, against CE L'Hospitalet.[16]

On 13 July 2006 Llorente signed a new contract with Athletic until June 2011, which included a buy-out clause of between 30 and 50 million.[17] He started the season as arguably the club's fourth-choice striker, behind Aritz Aduriz, Joseba Etxeberria and veteran Ismael Urzaiz. Athletic's poor form and lack of goals led to coach Félix Sarriugarte rotating the players, allowing Llorente to force his way back into the side; he ended the campaign with only two goals in 23 matches, although he did score an important one in the closing minutes of a 1–1 draw at Valencia CF.[18]

In preparation for 2007–08, Llorente scored six goals in as many pre-season games, and another against CD Numancia in the Caja Duero Trophy. His form led to him becoming Athletic's first-choice forward, and although he started the campaign poorly, he ended it with a total of 11 league goals for a side that finished in mid-table. His tally included four goals in two games against Valencia, both impressive wins,[19][20] and further strikes against FC Barcelona,[21] Villarreal CF[22] and Atlético Madrid.[23]

Prior to 2008–09, Llorente was confident of a successful season. "I know that I am capable of scoring goals and having a good year and I want to start this term in the same form that I ended the last one in" he said.[24] Despite the team's modest start he netted 14 league goals – a career-best – with another four in the Cup, helping his team reach the final against Barcelona (1–4 loss).

In the 2009–10 season, Llorente again reached double figures. He led all scorers in the Europa League for a lengthy period, with eight goals and added 14 in the league as Athletic finished in eighth position.

Llorente playing against Barcelona (2012)

On 28 August 2010 Llorente scored the first goal of the 2010–11 campaign, in a 1–0 win at Hércules CF.[25] His form continued in the next ten league fixtures as he found the net seven times, eventually finishing the season with 18 goals (19 overall) as Athletic qualified to the Europa League.

In January/February 2012, in two away games separated by only four days, Llorente scored five goals: he started with a hat-trick in a 3–2 win against Rayo Vallecano,[26] adding two in Athletic's 2-1 win over CD Mirandés in the Spanish Cup semifinals.[27] In the next two matches, both at home, he netted three more, one against Espanyol in the league[28] and two against Mirandés.[29]

Llorente scored in both legs of the 2011–12 Europa League round-of-16 against Manchester United, as Athletic won both games and went through 5–3 on aggregate.[30][31] In the next round he netted twice at FC Schalke 04 in a 4–2 win,[32] helping the team eventually reach the final.

In August 2012 Llorente refused to sign a new deal with Athletic Bilbao, fuelling speculation that he might be leaving the club.[3] Following a 0–2 derby loss at Real Sociedad on 29 September, in which he was a late substitute, he got into an argument with manager Marcelo Bielsa; two days later he walked out of training early and was sent to practice with the youth squad[33] and, as a result, his relationship with the club's supporters and president Josu Urrutia further deteriorated.[34]

On 3 January 2013, Athletic confirmed that Llorente would be holding contract talks with Juventus FC.[35] On the 21st the Italians' sporting director, Giuseppe Marotta, revealed that he was "very optimistic" that the player would join on 1 July, with Bilbao president Josu Urrutia believed to be unwilling to allow him to leave in the January transfer window.[36] Three days later the club formalized the signing, and announced he would sign a four-year contract on 1 July when his contract with Bilbao expired;[37] Juventus also paid his agent €3.038 million.[38]

Llorente scored just five goals in 36 official matches in his final year with Athletic, playing mainly as a back-up for Aduriz.[39][40]

Juventus

Llorente (right) before a Champions League match against Real Madrid in 2013

Llorente officially became a Juventus player on 1 July 2013 after passing a medical at the club.[41][42] He was given the number 14 jersey,[40][43] and netted his first goal in Serie A on 22 September when he started in a 2–1 home win against Hellas Verona FC.

In his second and third ever appearances in the UEFA Champions League, Llorente managed to find the net, on both occasions against Real Madrid for the 2013–14 group stage (1–2 away loss, 2–2 home draw).[44][45] On 1 December he scored in injury time for the game's only goal at home against Udinese Calcio,[46] a few weeks after speaking in an exclusive interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport about his relationship with former manager Bielsa.[47]

Llorente's first two goals of 2014 came on 12 January, scoring from a header and from close range as Juventus defeated Cagliari Calcio 4–1 away to extend their winning league run to 11 matches.[48] On 7 April, he netted both of his team's goals in a 2−0 home success over A.S. Livorno Calcio, confirming a top-two finish;[49] on the final day of the season, again against Cagliari, he contributed with one goal as the hosts won it 3–0 to become the team with the most points in a single Serie A campaign with 102.[50]

On 6 June 2015, Llorente played five minutes in the final of the Champions League, lost 1–3 to Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion.[51]

Sevilla

On 27 August 2015, free agent Llorente signed a three-year contract with Sevilla FC with a buyout clause of €20 million.[52] He made his league debut three days later, playing the full 90 minutes in a 0–3 home defeat against Atlético Madrid.

International career

Llorente (right, with number 16, marked by Peter Crouch) moments before his first goal for Spain.

Llorente represented Spain at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, his five goals winning him the silver boot as the competition's second highest scorer.[53] He was also capped at under-18 and under-19 levels.

On 14 November 2008, senior national team manager Vicente del Bosque called Llorente up for a friendly against Chile.[54] He was brought on as a substitute in the 72nd minute of the 3–0 win.[55] He scored his first goal in a 2–0 friendly win over England on 11 February 2009, coming off the bench to score in the 64th minute.[56] After netting 14 goals for Athletic in 2008–09, del Bosque named Llorente in his 23-man squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup: he was used as a substitute against hosts South Africa, and scored in a 2–0 victory.[57]

During the 2009–10 season, Llorente was not called-up once, as del Bosque favoured Álvaro Negredo. He would, however, be selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also in South Africa, as third-choice striker, where he played in one match for the eventual champions, the last 30 minutes of the 1–0 round-of-16 win against Portugal.

On 8 October 2010, benefiting from an injury to Fernando Torres, Llorente started in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania, in Salamanca. With two headers – his strongest asset – he contributed prominently in a 3–1 win. Four days later, as a substitute, he scored the winner against Scotland in a 3–2 success at Hampden Park. He was selected for the final stages in Poland and Ukraine, being an unused squad member as Spain won another tournament.

Llorente was one of seven players cut from Spain's final squad for the 2014 World Cup.[58] He represented the Basque Country national team five times, making his debut against Cameroon in 2005, and scored one goal for the Euskadi, in a match against Catalonia at the Camp Nou played the following year; his last appearance was in December 2007.[59]

International goals

Fernando Llorente: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1[60] 11 February 2009 Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville, Spain  England 2–0 2–0 Friendly
2[61] 20 June 2009 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa  South Africa 2–0 2–0 2009 Confederations Cup
3[62] 28 May 2010 Tivoli-Neu, Innsbruck, Austria  Saudi Arabia 3–2 3–2 Friendly
4[63] 7 September 2010 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires, Argentina  Argentina 3–1 4–1 Friendly
5[64] 8 October 2010 Estadio El Helmántico, Salamanca, Spain  Lithuania 1–0 3–1 Euro 2012 qualifying
6[65] 8 October 2010 Estadio El Helmántico, Salamanca, Spain  Lithuania 2–1 3–1 Euro 2012 qualifying
7[66] 12 October 2010 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland  Scotland 2–3 2–3 Euro 2012 qualifying

Style of play

A physical player, Llorente's main trait is his heading ability.[67] In addition, he is also gifted with good skills, which allows him to play with his back to goal and hold up the ball for his team mates to create space and scoring opportunities.[68]

Honours

Club

Athletic Bilbao
Juventus

Country

Spain

Individual

Decorations

Statistics

Club

As of 23 August 2015[59][70]
Club League Season League Cup Europe Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Baskonia Tercera División 2003–04 33 12 33 12
Total 33 12 33 12
Athletic Bilbao La Liga
2004–05 15 3 4 3 1 0 20 6
2005–06 22 2 3 2 25 4
2006–07 23 2 1 0 24 2
2007–08 35 10 5 1 40 11
2008–09 34 13 9 4 43 17
2009–10 37 14 3[a] 0 11 8 51 22
2010–11 38 18 3 1 41 19
2011–12 32 17 6 5 15 7 53 29
2012–13 26 4 2 0 8 1 36 5
Total 262 85 36 17 35 16 333 115
Juventus Serie A 2013–14 34 16 1 0 10 2 45 18
2014–15 31 7 5[b] 1 9 1 45 9
2015–16 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 0
Total 66 23 6 1 19 3 92 27
Career total 361 120 42 18 52 21 457 157
a^ : Cup totals for 2009–10 include one appearance in the 2009 Supercopa de España.
b^ : Cup totals for 2014–15 include one appearance in the 2014 Supercoppa Italiana.
c^ : Cup totals for 2015–16 include one appearance in the 2015 Supercoppa Italiana.

International

Updated as of 19 November 2013.[59]
Spain
Year Apps Goals
2008 1 0
2009 4 2
2010 8 5
2011 6 0
2012 2 0
2013 3 0
Total 24 7

Representative

Updated as of 13 August 2012.[59]
Basque Country
Year Apps Goals
2005 1 0
2006 2 1
2007 2 0

References

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  30. ^ Enterprising Athletic stun United at Old Trafford; UEFA.com, 8 March 2012
  31. ^ Athletic see off United with room to spare; UEFA.com, 15 March 2012
  32. ^ Schalke stunned by late Athletic fightback; UEFA.com, 29 March 2012
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  59. ^ a b c d Llorente; Athletic Club
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External links

  • Official website
  • Juventus official profile
  • Fernando Llorente profile at BDFutbol
  • National team data
  • Fernando Llorente at National-Football-Teams.com
  • Fernando Llorente – FIFA competition record
  • 2010 FIFA World Cup profile
  • Fernando Llorente – UEFA competition record
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