Saturday June 8 2013
‘As if Juve were always my team’

Fernando Llorente has looked forward to his move from Athletic Bilbao to Juventus this summer, and considered why he chose the Italians.

The Spain international agreed back in January to join the Bianconeri this summer on a Bosman transfer, having declined to renew his Athletic contract beyond its expiry.

“They are one of the best teams in Europe and the best in Italy,” reflected Llorente to Marca today.

“I'm lucky to be able to play for a team like that. I'm really looking forward to entering a new phase.

“Why Juve? Because they have impressed me ever since they expressed an interest. It's a really big club, comparable to Real Madrid and Barcelona. It's as though I've always known it was my team.

“This past year? My case is different, I've always attempted to choose the best option for both Athletic and me.

“I didn't want to go for free. Neither did I want to have the year I've had.

“I'll never go through that again if I can do anything to avoid it. I tried to get the best deal for myself but I came up against a brick wall.”

Come the end of June, Llorente will bring to an end a 16-year association with Athletic.

“It's a long time. To start with, I only came to play in the second halves.

“I trained on my own in my hometown during the week. That was for half a year, in the 'Alevin' A team [11-12 year olds].

“Then I was in a house with a family from Las Arenas for 'Infantil' [13-14 years old], and in the residence from 'Cadete' [14-15] onwards.

“That makes an impression on you for life.”

Football Italia website