Athletic Bilbao's Spain striker
Fernando Llorente has told the La Liga club he does not want to
extend his contract beyond the end of the coming season,
president Josu Urrutia said on Monday.
Urrutia admitted the 27-year-old's decision, which means he
will almost certainly leave before the transfer window closes at
the end of this month, was a severe blow to the Basque club, who
had been hoping to hold on to their prize asset for the 2012-13
La Liga campaign starting this weekend.
"He and his agent informed us that his decision was that he
would not extend his contract," Urrutia told a news conference.
"Essentially there was no economic reason and what had the
most weight was choosing to take part in a different type of
competition with more chances of success."
Spanish media reported that Llorente was poised to join
Italian champions Juventus.
The burly forward, known to adoring Bilbao fans as "the lion
king" because of his thick mane of golden hair, came through
Bilbao's youth academy before making his first-team debut in
He netted 17 goals in 32 league appearances for Bilbao last
season and scored seven in 15 games in European competition as
the Basque club reached the final of the Europa League before
losing to La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid.
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