Fernando Llorente

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Fernando Llorente
Sev tren 2016 (8).jpg
Llorente with Sevilla in 2016
Personal information
Full name Fernando Javier Llorente Torres[1]
Date of birth (1985-02-26) 26 February 1985 (age 33)
Place of birth Pamplona, Spain
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)[2]
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current team
Tottenham Hotspur
Number 18
Youth career
1994–1995 Funes
1995–1996 River Ebro
1996–2003 Athletic Bilbao
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2004 Basconia 33 (12)
2004–2005 Bilbao Athletic 16 (4)
2005–2013 Athletic Bilbao 262 (85)
2013–2015 Juventus 66 (23)
2015–2016 Sevilla 23 (4)
2016–2017 Swansea City 33 (15)
2017– Tottenham Hotspur 17 (1)
National team
2003 Spain U17 3 (2)
2005 Spain U20 4 (5)
2005–2006 Spain U21 9 (5)
2008– Spain 24 (7)
2005–2007 Basque Country 5 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:04, 2 September 2018 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 19 November 2013

Fernando Javier Llorente Torres (Spanish pronunciation: [feɾˈnando ʎoˈɾente ˈtores]; born 26 February 1985), nicknamed El Rey León ("The Lion King" in Spanish),[3] is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a striker for English club Tottenham Hotspur and the Spain national team.

Llorente started his career with Athletic Bilbao, 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 debut in 2005. He scored 29 goals in all competitions in the 2011–12 season, and was described as a "Bilbao legend".[4][5] He signed with Juventus in 2013, winning the Serie A twice during his two-year spell there; subsequently, he spent the 2015–16 campaign back in Spain with Sevilla, then competed in the Premier League with Swansea City and Tottenham Hotspur.

A Spain international since late 2008, Llorente was a member of the squads which won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Early years[edit]

Though born in Pamplona, Llorente grew up in the municipality of Rincón de Soto in La Rioja.[6][7] He joined Athletic Bilbao's youth system in 1996 at the age of 11, being eligible through his Navarrese roots.

Club career[edit]

Athletic Bilbao[edit]

Llorente in action for Athletic against Hércules, during which he scored the first goal of 2010–11

Llorente spent several seasons in the various junior levels of the club, playing alongside Fernando Amorebieta[8] and moving to the farm team in Tercera División in 2003.[9] He gradually paved his way for promotion to Bilbao Athletic – Athletic's reserves – in Segunda División B.[10]

After scoring four goals for the B's in the first half of the season, Llorente was awarded with a contract extension until June 2008.[11] On 16 January 2005, he made his first-team – and La Liga – debut in a 1–1 home draw against RCD Espanyol.[12] Three days later, in a Copa del Rey match with UD Lanzarote, he scored a hat-trick in a 6–0 victory,[13] 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 domestic cup matches and the UEFA Cup round-of-32 clash against FK Austria Wien.

Before 2005–06, Llorente's squad number was promoted from number 32 to 9.[14] He scored in the opening day, a Basque derby 3–0 win over Real Sociedad[15] but, throughout the campaign, found goals hard to come by, which could be partly attributed to a series of injuries including a knee strain,[16] gastroenteritis[17] and a muscle injury.[18] He ended the season with just four goals, two in the league and as much in the Cup, against CE L'Hospitalet.[19]

On 13 July 2006, Llorente signed a new contract until June 2011, which included a buy-out clause of between 30 and 50 million.[20] He started the season as arguably the club's fourth-choice striker, behind Aritz Aduriz, Joseba Etxeberria and veteran Ismael Urzaiz. The team's poor form and lack of goals led to coach Félix Sarriugarte rotating the players, allowing Llorente to force his way back into the side; he ended the campaign with only two goals in 23 matches, although he did score an important one in the closing minutes of a 1–1 draw at Valencia CF.[21]

In preparation for 2007–08, Llorente scored six goals in as many pre-season matches, 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 campaign 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,[22][23] and further strikes against FC Barcelona,[24] Villarreal CF[25] and Atlético Madrid.[26]

Before 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.[27] Despite the team's modest start 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).[28]

In the 2009–10 season, Llorente again reached double figures. He led all scorers in the Europa League for a lengthy period with eight goals, and added 14 in the league in an eventual eighth-place finish.[29][30]

Llorente playing against Barcelona (2012)

On 28 August 2010, Llorente scored the first goal of the 2010–11 campaign, in a 1–0 win at Hércules CF.[31] His form continued in the next ten league fixtures as he found the net seven times, eventually finishing the season with 18 goals (19 overall) as Athletic qualified to the Europa League.

In January/February 2012, in two away matches separated by only four days, Llorente scored five goals: he started with a hat-trick in a 3–2 win against Rayo Vallecano,[32] adding two in a 2–1 defeat of CD Mirandés in the Spanish Cup semi-finals.[33] In the next two matches, both at home, he netted three more, one against Espanyol in the league[34] and two against Mirandés.[35]

Llorente scored in both legs of the 2011–12 Europa League round-of-16 against Manchester United, as Athletic won both games and went through 5–3 on aggregate.[36][37] In the next round he netted twice at FC Schalke 04 in a 4–2 win,[38] helping the team eventually reach the final; his seven goals in the tournament also made him the club's highest scorer in European competition, beating the total of 11 set by Dani in the 1980s[39] and being himself surpassed by Aduriz in 2016.[40]

In August 2012, Llorente refused to sign a new deal with Athletic Bilbao, fuelling speculation that he might be leaving.[4] Following a 0–2 derby loss at Real Sociedad on 29 September, in which he was a late substitute, he got into an argument with manager Marcelo Bielsa; two days later he walked out of training early and was sent to practice with the youth squad[41] and, as a result, his relationship with the club's supporters and president Josu Urrutia further deteriorated.[42]

On 3 January 2013, Athletic confirmed that Llorente would be holding talks with Juventus F.C.[43] On the 21st the Italians' sporting director, Giuseppe Marotta, revealed that he was "very optimistic" that the player would join on 1 July, with Urrutia believed to be unwilling to allow him to leave in the January transfer window.[44] Three days later the club formalized the signing, and announced he would sign a four-year contract on 1 July when his contract with Bilbao expired;[45] Juventus also paid his agent €3.038 million.[46]

Llorente scored just five goals in 36 official matches in his final year with Athletic, playing mainly as a back-up for Aduriz.[47][48]

Juventus[edit]

Llorente (right) before a Champions League match against Real Madrid in 2013

Llorente officially became a Juventus player on 1 July 2013 after passing a medical at the club.[49][50] He was given the number 14 shirt,[48][51] and netted his first goal in Serie A on 22 September when he started in a 2–1 home win against Hellas Verona F.C.

In his second and third ever appearances in the UEFA Champions League, Llorente managed to find the net, on both occasions against Real Madrid for the 2013–14 group stage (1–2 away loss, 2–2 home draw).[52][53] On 1 December he scored in injury time for the only goal of the match at home against Udinese Calcio,[54] a few weeks after speaking in an exclusive interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport about his relationship with former manager Bielsa.[55]

Llorente's first two goals of 2014 came on 12 January, scoring from a header and from close range as Juventus defeated Cagliari Calcio 4–1 away to extend their winning league run to 11 matches.[56] On 7 April, he netted both of his team's goals in a 2–0 home success over A.S. Livorno Calcio, confirming a top-two finish;[57] on the final day of the season, again against Cagliari, he contributed with one goal as the hosts won it 3–0 to become the team with the most points in a single Serie A campaign with 102.[58]

On 6 June 2015, Llorente came off the bench and played five minutes in the final of the Champions League, lost 1–3 to Barcelona at Berlin's Olympiastadion.[59]

Sevilla[edit]

On 27 August 2015, free agent Llorente signed a three-year contract with Sevilla FC with a buyout clause of €20 million.[60] He made his league debut three days later, playing the full 90 minutes in a 0–3 home defeat against Atlético Madrid.[61] He scored his first goal for the club in a 1–2 loss to Celta de Vigo also at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, on 20 September.[62]

On 8 November 2015, after having replaced newly signed Ciro Immobile for the final 20 minutes of the domestic league fixture against Real Madrid, Llorente headed home after only four minutes in an eventual 3–2 win.[63] Exactly one month later, also at home, he netted the lone goal in a 1–0 victory over his former club Juventus in the final match of the Champions League group stage, to surpass Borussia Mönchengladbach and take third spot that allowed for qualification for the Europa League knockout phase;[64] they went on to win that competition (for the third time in a row) with him being an unused substitute in the final,[65] and he came off the bench during extra time in the final of the domestic cup four days later, which was lost to Barcelona.[66]

Swansea City[edit]

On 4 August 2016, it was announced that Llorente had signed a two-year deal with Swansea City.[67][68] He made his Premier League debut nine days later, playing the full 90 minutes in a 1–0 away win against Burnley.[69]

On 26 November 2016, Llorente scored two injury-time goals to help the hosts defeat Crystal Palace 5–4.[70] He also netted twice two matches later also at the Liberty Stadium, against Sunderland (3–0);[71] he finished his first season with 15 goals, as the team avoided relegation.[72]

A fractured arm sustained while cycling during his summer holiday caused Llorente to miss the opening weeks of the 2017–18 campaign.[73]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

On 31 August 2017, Llorente joined Tottenham Hotspur on a two-year deal for an reported fee of £12.1 million.[74][75] He made his debut for the club on 13 September, replacing Harry Kane for the last minutes of a 3–1 home win over Borussia Dortmund for the Champions League group stage.[76] He made his first start in the EFL Cup tie against Barnsley on 20 September,[77] followed by the Champions League group stage draw at Real Madrid which ended 1–1.[78]

Llorente scored his first goal for Spurs on 6 December 2017, playing the full 90 minutes in a 3–0 Champions League win over APOEL FC as his team had already progressed to the knockout stage as group champions.[79] He made his first league start the following 2 January, netting in the 2–0 away defeat of his former club Swansea.[80]

Llorente scored a hat-trick in a 6–1 win against Rochdale for the fifth round of the FA Cup, on 28 February 2018.[81]

International career[edit]

Llorente (right, with number 16, marked by Peter Crouch) moments before his first goal for Spain

Llorente represented Spain at the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, his five goals winning him the silver boot as the competition's second highest scorer.[82] He was also capped at under-18 and under-19 levels.

On 14 November 2008, senior national team manager Vicente del Bosque called Llorente up for a friendly against Chile,[83] where he was brought on as a substitute in the 72nd minute of the 3–0 win.[84] He scored his first goal in a 2–0 friendly success over England on 11 February 2009, coming off the bench to score in the 64th minute.[85] After netting 14 goals for Athletic in 2008–09, del Bosque named Llorente in his 23-man squad for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup; he was used as a substitute against hosts South Africa, and scored in a 2–0 victory.[86]

Llorente was not called-up once during the 2009–10 season, as del Bosque favoured Álvaro Negredo. He would, however, 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 over Portugal.[87]

On 8 October 2010, benefiting from an injury to 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.[88] Four days later, as a substitute, he scored the winner against Scotland in a 3–2 success at Hampden Park;[89] he was selected for the final stages in Poland and Ukraine, being an unused squad member as Spain won another tournament.[90]

Llorente was one of seven players cut from the final squad for the 2014 World Cup.[91] He represented the Basque Country national team five times, making his debut against Cameroon in 2005, and scored one goal for the Euskadi, in a match against Catalonia at the Camp Nou played the following year; his last appearance was in December 2007.[92]

Style of play[edit]

A tall, large, and physically powerful player, Llorente's main traits are his heading ability and strength in the air, which enable him to function effectively as a target-man in the centre of his team's attacking line.[93][94][95][96][97] He is also known for his offensive movement, positional sense, and goalscoring ability inside the penalty area;[93][94][95][98] additionally, he is also gifted with good technical skills and link-up play, which allows him to play well with his back to goal and hold up the ball for his teammates in order to create space and scoring opportunities.[93][94][95][98][99][100]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played 5 May 2018[92][101]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Basconia 2003–04 Tercera División 33 12 33 12
Total 33 12 33 12
Bilbao Athletic 2004–05 Segunda División B 16 4 16 4
Total 16 4 16 4
Athletic Bilbao 2004–05 La Liga 15 3 4 3 1[a] 0 20 6
2005–06 22 2 3 2 25 4
2006–07 23 2 1 0 24 2
2007–08 35 11 5 1 40 12
2008–09 34 14 9 4 43 18
2009–10 37 14 2 1 11[b] 8 1[c] 0 51 23
2010–11 38 18 3 1 41 19
2011–12 32 17 6 5 15[b] 7 53 29
2012–13 26 4 2 0 8[b] 1 36 5
Total 262 85 35 17 35 16 1 0 333 118
Juventus 2013–14 Serie A 34 16 1 0 10[d] 2 45 18
2014–15 31 7 4 1 9[e] 1 1[f] 0 45 9
2015–16 1 0 0 0 0 0 1[f] 0 2 0
Total 66 23 5 1 19 3 2 0 92 27
Sevilla 2015–16 La Liga 23 4 6 0 7[g] 3 36 7
Total 23 4 6 0 7 3 36 7
Swansea City 2016–17 Premier League 33 15 1 0 1 0 0 0 35 15
Total 33 15 1 0 1 0 0 0 35 15
Tottenham Hotspur 2017–18 Premier League 16 1 6 3 2 0 6[e] 1 30 5
Total 16 1 6 3 2 0 6 1 31 5
Career total 449 144 52 18 3 0 64 23 3 0 575 188
  1. ^ Appearance in the UEFA Cup
  2. ^ a b c Appearances in the Europa League
  3. ^ Appearance in the Supercopa de España
  4. ^ Five appearances in the Champions League and five in the Europa League
  5. ^ a b Appearances in the Champions League
  6. ^ a b Appearances in the Supercoppa Italiana
  7. ^ Three appearances in the Champions League and four in the Europa League

International[edit]

As of 19 November 2013[102]
Llorente joins Andrés Iniesta and goalscorer David Villa in celebration of Spain's goal against Portugal at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Spain
Year Apps Goals
2008 1 0
2009 4 2
2010 8 5
2011 6 0
2012 2 0
2013 3 0
Total 24 7

Representative[edit]

As of 13 August 2012[92]
Basque Country
Year Apps Goals
2005 1 0
2006 2 1
2007 2 0

International goals[edit]

Fernando Llorente: International goals
Goal Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1[103] 11 February 2009 Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville, Spain  England 2–0 2–0 Friendly
2[104] 20 June 2009 Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa  South Africa 2–0 2–0 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
3[105] 28 May 2010 Tivoli-Neu, Innsbruck, Austria  Saudi Arabia 3–2 3–2 Friendly
4[106] 7 September 2010 Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Buenos Aires, Argentina  Argentina 3–1 4–1 Friendly
5[107] 8 October 2010 Estadio El Helmántico, Salamanca, Spain  Lithuania 1–0 3–1 Euro 2012 qualifying
6[108] 8 October 2010 Estadio El Helmántico, Salamanca, Spain  Lithuania 2–1 3–1 Euro 2012 qualifying
7[109] 12 October 2010 Hampden Park, Glasgow, Scotland  Scotland 2–3 2–3 Euro 2012 qualifying

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Juventus[101][110][111]
Sevilla[101][111]

International[edit]

Spain[101][110][111]

Individual[edit]

Decorations[edit]

References[edit]

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