Sunday February 3 2013
'Board to blame for my departure'

Fernando Llorente has admitted that pressure from supporters and board members at Athletic Bilbao forced him to leave the club.

The Spain international will join Italian club Juventus at the end of the season, when his contract runs out at San Mames.

And the 27-year-old striker has conceded that he has been in a bad place this season, but still hopes he can help the team.

“It is not easy for me at the moment,” he told AS. “Many people here are with me and love me – but another part of me just wants to leave as quickly as possible.

“I tried to do everything in the best possible way – for me and the club. But that has not happened.

“I don't want to be remembered for my departure.

“I've been here for 17 years, and not once has anyone questioned my professionalism. I just want to help the team in any way I can until the end of the season.

“It was a very difficult decision to make. Negotiations did not really go the way I wanted.

“I got pressure from the local media, and then the fans started getting on my back. Then I played for the national team, and the supporters started singing 'Spanish Llorente'.

“But what really tipped me overboard was instead of receiving love and support from the board, all I got was pressure.

“It was an unusual environment, and that's when I decided to go.”

The towering forward then revealed why he decided to join the Serie A title holders.

“I had offers from many teams,” he added. “But I really liked the Juve project. They have invested heavily in me from the start and have always been clear of their intentions.

“I've always enjoyed the competitive spirit of Italian teams, and for me, Juve are the biggest.

“The club are also trying to win the Champions League, which, for me, is the title that is the most exciting.

“They are a winning team, with the ambition to keep on winning. It excites me a lot.”

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