Llorente declines Press appearance

Fernando Llorente has refused to appear at an Athletic Bilbao Press conference after training today, confirms the club.

The striker’s relationship with Athletic has become fractured in recent months, after his refusal since the summer to renew his contract beyond its June 2013 expiry, the club’s refusal to sell him for below his buyout fee and Coach Marcelo Bielsa’s minimal use of him in games.

Athletic confirmed via their official Twitter account more than once this afternoon that the Spain striker was scheduled to appear alongside teammate Jon Aurtenetxe at today’s post-training Press conference at Lezama, but refused the commitment.

“We communicate that besides Aurtenetxe, Fernando Llorente should be appearing, but Llorente has refused to do so,” posted the club before the Press conference, before once more confirming the situation at the end of Aurtenetxe’s words.

“The Press conference ends. There will be no other players appearing, after Fernando Llorente’s refusal to appear before the media.”

The striker has not appeared at a Press conference at the club’s training complex at Lezama since the summer fallout and has previously declined the Basques’ request to attend after-game mixed zones this season.

However, Llorente has spoken through the campaign via interviews with local media sources and is reportedly scheduled to be talking to a local television station this afternoon.

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