Aritz Aduriz may have benefited most from Fernando Llorente’s dispute with Athletic Bilbao, but he sees it as distracting the team from other issues.
Llorente’s contract talks with the club broke down last summer but, in not selling the 27-year-old, the Basque outfit have allowed him to run it down and agree to join Juventus in the summer on a Bosman.
Part of the worsening relations between player and team has seen Aduriz handed the starting shirt in Athletic’s attack for a majority of the season.
Even having responded with 12 League goals to his name so far, Aduriz admits that the entire situation has not been so positive.
“Llorente’s situation is an uncomfortable one for everyone. For him, for us, for everyone,” he told Mundo Deportivo this week.
“Everyone including him wants to end discussing such matters and see that we focus on what really interests us as a team moving forward.
“This week, for example, very little has been said of the match against Espanyol…”
Before Llorente’s situation, it was Aduriz facing a difficult season, starting it on the bench and with Marcelo Bielsa reportedly commenting that he had not recommended the 31-year-old’s signing.
“I knew I was coming to a very competitive team, where I faced competition because of Fernando, one of the best strikers out there.
“We had three competitions, I thought there would be time for everyone to play to their best, because that would be for the best of the team.
“I was conscious when I arrived that I would come to play and have to fight for the good of the team.
“The start of the season [as a substitute] was a bit shocking, but I had no choice other than to work to try and change the Coach’s initial decision and in the end try and find a chance to play.”