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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Llorente: Real tried to sign me twice

Juventus striker Fernando Llorente has revealed Real Madrid tried to sign him twice while he was at Athletic Bilbao.

Fernando Llorente celebrates after netting the winner against Hellas Verona in first-half stoppage time.
Llorente was eager to join Real.

Llorente is hoping to line up against Madrid when the two teams clash in the Champions League on Wednesday, but he could have been on the other side of the pitch had Carlo Ancelotti's side proved successful in their negotiations.

Cox: Historical clash

The 28-year-old was last approached by Los Blancos following the 2011-12 season, but he was unwilling to wait for an offer to remain in Spain.

"Yes, there was real interest [from Madrid]," Llorente told AS. "In the end the timing wasn't right, and something else came along. They tried to sign me at least twice.

"At first because it was impossible to leave Athletic. Over there, either someone pays your buy-out clause or you stay. The last time was when I had a year left on my contract, the year we had a good run in the Europa League [2011-12].

"As my contract began to run out Madrid were no longer interested and Juve turned up and gave me more confidence. Joining Madrid was once a possibility, as they are one of the best teams in the world."

Llorente continues to sit behind Carlos Tevez and Mirko Vucinic in the Bianconeri pecking order, but the Spaniard has been assured of his future by coach Antonio Conte.

"He told me to relax and reminded me it was him who signed me," he continued. "He knows I’ve had a tough year and I knew that it would take me a while to return to my peak level of fitness."

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