‘Sevilla have to have CL hope’

Fernando Llorente doesn’t want Sevilla to give up hope of progressing in the Champions League but played down his national team aspirations.

Llorente returned to La Liga with Los Rojiblancos late in the winter transfer window after a successful spell with Juventus, one of Sevilla’s Champions League group stage opponents, but their experience of the tournament has not been positive.

“We mustn’t lose hope. While we’re still in it, we’ve got life. Our next goal is to win in Germany and, from there, what happens no longer depends on us,” Llorente told Marca with Borussia Monchengladbach in mind.

“But Gladbach are a different team. Since we played them last they’ve changed Coach and moved from bottom of their League to the European places. What happened when they came to Sevilla has no bearing.”

The game against Gladbach is one of a number of pivotal ties Sevilla face in the coming weeks, while for Llorente, the trip to San Mames to play his first club Athletic Bilbao will also be noteworthy.

“It’s the last game of the first half of the season, and we end the season in Bilbao,” he acknowledged.

“It will be very special. This year seems to be a lot of returns home. First, against Juve in the Champions League and now in the League against Athletic.

“They’re in spectacular form. They didn’t start well, like ourselves, but they’re playing very good football.

“I know the date of the derby [with Real Betis] too. I’m told it’s a unique game. I really want to experience it. I hope I can help the team win that game. It would be amazing.”

The interview concluded with a brief comment on La Roja, a tribute to the retiring Raul, and a summation of Llorente’s aims for the campaign.

“The dream of the national team goes through Sevilla, that is very clear to me. The important thing is to have a great season with Sevilla, to score as many goals as I can, and from there, be an option to return,” he said.

“It’s not something that worries me now or that I’ve got in my head.

“I’d say Raul is one of the greatest Spanish players of all time. To make a career in a team like Real Madrid is not easy. And from the cantera. We’ve all admired him a lot.

“This season I want to win something with Sevilla. It would be wonderful and from there, to give my best. If I get into the national team it’d be a dream.”

Tags Fernando Llorente