FERNANDO LLORENTE


Fernando Llorente Torres
born February 26, 1985, nicknamed El Rey Leon (The Lion King in Spanish),is a Spanish footballer who plays for Athletic Bilbao and the Spanish national team, as a striker.

Llorente started his career with Athletic Bilbao, swiftly working his way through the various youth ranks, and becoming one of the most important offensive players for the club in the following decade, since making his first team debuts in 2005.

A Spanish international since late 2008, he helped the national team win the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Llorente playing for Athletic Bilbao against Hércules, during which he scored the first goal of 2010–11.

Though born in Pamplona, Navarre, Llorente grew up in the municipality of Rincón de Soto in La Rioja. He joined Athletic de Bilbao's youth system in 1996, at the age of 11, being eligible through his Navarrese roots. He spent several seasons in the various junior levels of the club, moving in 2003 to CD Baskonia of the fourth category, effectively an Athletic youth team, and also a feeder club since 1997.

Llorente scored 12 goals in 33 appearances for Baskonia, paving way for his promotion to Bilbao Athletic, Athletic's reserve team, then in Segunda División B.

After featuring in 16 games and scoring four goals for the Bilbao Athletic in the first half of season, Llorente was awarded with a contract extension until June 2008. On January 16, 2005, he made his first-team debut in a 1–1 home draw against RCD Espanyol. Three days later, in a Spanish Cup match with UD Lanzarote, Llorente scored a hat-trick in a 6–0 victory, and would go on to feature in all but five of the 19 remaining league games while scoring three goals, and also featuring in four Cup matches and the UEFA Cup game against FK Austria Wien.

Before the 2005–06 season, Llorente's squad number was promoted from number 32 to 9.He scored in the opening day, a Basque derby 3–0 victory against Real Sociedad. Throughout the season, Llorente found goals hard to come by, which could be partly attributed to a series of injuries including a knee strain, gastroenteritis, and a muscle injury. He ended the season with just four goals, two in the league and as much in the Cup, against CE L'Hospitalet.

On July 13, 2006, Llorente signed a new contract with Athletic until June 2011, which included a buy-out clause of between €30 and 50 million. He started the season as arguably the club's fourth-choice striker, behind Aritz Aduriz, Joseba Etxeberria and veteran Ismael Urzaiz. Athletic's poor form and lack of goals led to then-coach Félix Sarriugarte into rotating the players, allowing Llorente to force his way back into the side. Llorente ended the season with only two goals in 23 matches, although he did score an important goal in the closing minutes of a 1–1 away draw with Valencia CF.

In preparation for the 2007–08 season, Llorente scored six goals in as many pre-season games, and another against CD Numancia in the Caja Duero Trophy. His form led to him becoming Athletic's first-choice forward, and although he started the season poorly, he ended it with a total of 11 league goals for a side that finished in mid-table. His tally included four goals in two games against Valencia, both impressive wins, and further strikes against FC Barcelona, Villarreal CF and Atlético de Madrid.

Prior to 2008–09, Llorente was confident of a successful season. "I know that I am capable of scoring goals and having a good year and I want to start this term in the same form that I ended the last one in" he said. Despite Athletic's modest start to the season, he netted 14 league goals - a career-best - with another four in the Cup, helping his team reach the final against Barcelona (1–4 loss).

In the 2009–10 season, Llorente again netted in double figures; additionally, he led all scorers in the Europa League for a lengthy period, with eight goals. He added 14 in the league as Athletic finished in eighth position.

On 28 August 2010, Llorente scored the first goal of 2010–11, in a 1–0 win at Hércules CF. His form continued in the next ten league fixtures, as he found the net seven times.

Llorente (right, with number 16, marked by Peter Crouch) moments before his first goal for the Spanish national team.

Llorente represented Spain at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship. His five goals led him to win the silver boot as the competition's second highest scorer, and he was also capped at under-18 and u-19 levels.

On November 14, 2008, senior national team manager Vicente del Bosque called Llorente for a friendly against Chile. He was brought on as a substitute in the 72nd minute of a 3–0 win.] He scored his first goal in a 2–0 friendly win over England, on 11 February 2009, coming on from the bench to score in the 64th minute. After scoring 14 goals for Athletic in 2008–09, del Bosque named Llorente in his 23-man squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. He came from the bench against against hosts South Africa, and scored in a 2–0 victory.

During the 2009–10 season, Llorente was not called-up once, as del Bosque favoured Álvaro Negredo. However, he would be selected for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, also in South Africa, as third-choice striker, where he played in one match for the eventual champions: the last 30 minutes of the 1–0 round of 16 win against Portugal.

Additionally, Llorente was called several times by the Basque Country national football team. He scored one goal for the tricolor in a match against Catalonia at the Camp Nou, in 2006.

On 8 October 2010, benefiting from the injury of Fernando Torres, Llorente started in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier against Lithuania, in Salamanca. With two headers - his strongest asset - he contributed prominently in a 3–1 win; four days later, coming from the bench, he scored the winner against Scotland, for a 3–2 success at Hampden Park.

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Fernando Llorente
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PLAYER DETAILS

Full name: Fernando Llorente Torres
Date of birth: February 26, 1985
Place of birth: Pamplona, Spain
Height: 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position: Striker

Club information


Current club: Athletic Bilbao

Youth career
1994–1995 FC Funes
1995–1996 River Ebro
1996–2003 Athletic Bilbao

Senior career
2003–2004 Baskonia 33 (12)
2004–2005 Bilbao Athletic 16 (4)
2005– Athletic Bilbao 195 (64)

National team
2003 Spain U17 3 (2)
2005 Spain U20 4 (5)
2005–2006 Spain U21 9 (5)
2008– Spain 13 (7)
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