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Barca dealing with Copa drama

Barcelona
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Llorente walks out of training

The relationship between Fernando Llorente and Marcelo Bielsa at Athletic Bilbao deteriorated further on Monday morning after a row which saw the out of favour centre-forward leave training early.

Llorente, who was a late substitute as Los Leones fell to a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Basque rivals Real Sociedad on Saturday, was training with the reserves and youths Monday morning at Bilbao’s Lezama facility.

In an incident filmed by Basque TV station EITB, Bielsa halted a practice game to criticise what he had seen. After an exchange of views, Llorente walked off the pitch alone, and the session finished without him. The Spanish international later left the training ground without speaking to reporters.

Llorente, who has less than a year remaining on his current contract, was linked last summer with a move to Juventus but the Serie A champions did not match his €36 million release clause. Although the player said last month he was looking forward to playing for Athletic this season, he pointedly refused to commit his longer term future to the club.

Amid this unsettling situation Bielsa has used the powerful centre-forward sparingly so far this campaign, with six substitute appearances across La Liga and the Europa League bringing one goal.

Athletic have started poorly and currently sit 17th in the Primera Division table, with just one victory from their first six games.

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