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Llorente to leave Athletic

Fernando Llorente has confirmed he will leave Athletic Bilbao when his contract expires in June.

Athletic Bilbao and Valencia have been surpisingly been battling in the bottom half of the table so far this season
Fernando Llorente has decided to call time on his career with Athletic

Llorente, 27, turned down the offer of a new contract during the summer and was linked with clubs like Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus.

However, after press speculation led to abuse from his own fans, the Spain international has no intention of signing a new deal and will now be available on a free transfer in the summer.

“It is not a financial issue because the offer (from Athletic) was unrefusable, but what happened in the media did not help,” he said.

“That is one of the reasons. A bad atmosphere was generated with me on the field and that, along with many other things, made me decide not to renew my contract. Most of what has been published about my meetings with other clubs has been lies and has helped turn people against me. But I feel loved by the majority of the fans.

“There is clearly a section which does not like me, but I respect that. Some people want me to go. The new contract negotiations were very long and from the first moment I did not want to leave, but neither is it something I would blame on Athletic. What happened at the first European game of the season at San Mames left me very unhappy and I took the decision to leave.”

“I am leaving on June 30. You also like to try other things too. I have been European and World Champion. I have played for years at a good level.”

Llorente also revealed that he was not looking to leave in the January transfer window, and that he would continue to give his all for his team.

“It would not be a letdown not to leave,” he added. “I am not thinking about anything else except to prepare as well as possible for each game. On everything that comes out of here about my future, I will say nothing because I just want to concentrate on helping my team.”

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