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Valencia president steps down

Valencia president Manuel Llorente said he was proud of the work he had done in turning the club's finances around as he announced his resignation on Friday afternoon.

Llorente, 61, a long-time board member at Mestalla, was appointed to the presidency in June 2009 when Valencia were in dire straits after the disastrous presidency of Juan Soler.

While some progress has been made in cutting its debts, the club remains in serious economic difficulty. Control of its affairs is now shared between the regional government [Generalitat], the club's board, its bankers and a foundation established by Llorente to manage its shares.

Llorente told a press conference on Friday that he made the decision to resign after hearing the new board of that foundation, Federico Varona, talk on Wednesday.

"After listening to the president of the foundation I understood that a new era had begun," Llorente said. "There would have been two parallel boards, and I cannot consent to that. I spoke with the Generalitat president [Alberto Fabra], but the decision was already taken."

Llorente's almost four years in charge have seen Valencia's debts cut significantly through the regular sale of its best players, including David Villa, David Silva, Juan Mata and Jordi Alba, while creditably continuing to qualify for and compete in the Champions League each season.

"We took on a club which was in a very precarious position and we are leaving one which is much better now than when we arrived," he said. "I feel proud of the work done at this club. It did not come out of nothing. We had to sell important players to straighten out the finances. We still need the support of the fans, because we need to be in the Champions League."

Varona said on Wednesday he will not sell the club. His tasks now include renegotiating its estimated €350 million debts, completing its new half-built stadium and selling its current ground.

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