Posts Tagged ‘Athletic Bilbao’

Top European Striker Want’s a Move to England

A top European striker wants a move to England.

Fernando Llorente has fast become one the hottest properties in European football and after an impressive campaign with Athletic Club, a campaign in which he helped his team reach the Europa League and Copa Del Rey finals, he is on all the top teams radar.

Athletic Club have been widely praised for their all out attacking style and passionate play and fans. Llorente has been at the forefront of all praise and at the age of 27 this is maybe his last chance to force a move to a top European team.

Many people feel that Llorente is a player designed for the Premiership and this is something he agrees with, he says “I’m the sort of player who would be successful in the Premier League… (But) it’s all hypothetical.” He went onto say that he feels it’s one of the best leagues in the world, saying “I’d love to get to know it and enjoy it” but he did finished off by saying that he was still very happy in Bilbao. But Llorente didn’t stop flirting with the Premiership just yet. When asked what did he like to do in his spare time, he again brought up England. “…I love travelling… We (himself and his girlfriend) went to London on holiday last year, I loved it, I saw Big Ben and Buckingham Palace and went to see the Wimbledon tennis, but I don’t speak English. I need to learn the language.”

Llorente “I’m the sort of player who would be successful in the Premier League”

And it is that last sentence that fuels most of the flames to this transfer rumour. Llorente clearly has strong intentions to return to England and shows a strong intent to stay for a long time. Well long enough to need to learn the language.

But who would be in for Llorente and who could afford him? Manchester City will be the favourites for the marksman but they may not need to sign him if Carlos Tevez decides to stay and if Balotelli isn’t sold. Chelsea will also be in for the Spanish foreword, as Didier Drogba is out of contract in the summer. Manchester United will also have tabs on Llorente as Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen look set to be on the way out of Old Trafford. Others that will have interest are both Tottenham and Liverpool, who will need to reinforce their squads to stand a chance of challenging for a Champions League spot next season.

But out of the five who would be able to afford him? Well, Manchester City and Chelsea will happily spend what is required to get their man. Manchester United would be able to afford him but may struggle to match his wage demands, especially if facing direct competition from rivals Man City. Tottenham and Liverpool’s best chance of signing the Spanish giant would be if City, Chelsea or United don’t go in for Llorente as neither Tottenham or Liverpool could guarantee Champions League football every season.

This rumour could run all the way through the transfer window as the striker will not make up his mind until after the European Championships, where he may have to play a huge part for Spain as David Villa is struggling in his race for full fitness.

Llorente has scored 28 goals already this season and has provided 6 assists for his teammates.

See also; Europa League Final 2012  

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Europa League Final 2012

On the 9th of May in Bucharest, Athletic Bilbao will meet Atletico Madrid in an all-Spanish Europa League final.

Athletic Bilbao have been praised for their attractive football that they play. They are a team that never seems to stop attacking from kick-off to the final whistle.

Bilbao topped a group containing Slovan Bratislava, Red Bull Salzburg and big spending Paris Saint-Germain. In the round of 32 they scraped by Lokomotiv Moscow on away goals. Following this they met Manchester United, a game which many expected them to lose. However they outplayed United at Old Trafford and won 3-2. They later bet them in the San Mamés 2-1, progressing 5-3 on aggregate. Bielsa’s men knocked out German side Schalke to progress to the semi-finals where they contested in a highly entertaining fixture with Sporting Lisbon. It took a late Fernando Llorente goal to put them through.

Having not won a trophy since 1984, this season could prove to be one of Bilbao’s most successful yet being in both the Europa League and Copa Del Rey final.  The Basque side have only made it to one European Final previously, the Uefa Cup final in 1977 where they lost on away goals to Juventus. They will be hoping for better luck this time around.

Llorente celebrates his 88th minute winner against Sporting Lisbon.

2010 winners Atletico Madrid will be hoping to add their second Europa League to their trophy cabinet come the 9th of May.

Los Rojiblancos only lost once in a group that included Udinese, Celtic and French side Rennes. They comfortably bet Lazio 4-1 on aggregate  in the Round of 32. Besiktas proved to be no match for Atletico as they were brushed aside, losing 6-1 over the two legs. Like Bilbao, Atletico Madrid met a German team in the quarter-finals, Hannover 96. Madrid won 2-1 in each leg, which progressed them to the semi’s where they met fellow Spanish side Valencia. This was to be Atletico’s toughest task of the Europa League campaign. However, a Falcao brace helped them on their way to a 4-2 win at the Vicente Calderón. In the second leg, Valencia attacked from the start but it proved to be a frustrating night as they couldn’t get the goal they so badly needed. Then on the hour mark, Atletico Madrid forward Adrián shot down any hope of a Valencia comeback as he put the ball past Diego Alves. On the 80th minute Atletico captain Tiago was sent off and will now miss the final.

Atletico Madrid players celebrate goal against Valencia.

Atletico striker Radamel Falcao will be hoping to get a goal or two in the final to move him up the Europa League scoring charts. If he can score two he will be the second highest goalscorer in Europa League history on 30 goals only after two seasons. He could also lift his second Europa League in two seasons following his success with Porto last year.