Despite measuring all of 1.93m, Fernando Llorente is about far more than just aerial prowess. Blessed with good technique, the strength to hold up the ball, intelligent movement and a powerful shot, the Athletic Bilbao target man came to prominence with his goals and all-round play at the 2005 FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Netherlands.
A product of the Basque outfit's youth system, Llorente has suffered more than most with the team's La Liga travails over recent seasons. Indeed, in spite of the paucity of service he has received, the young front-man has had to bear criticism from a San Mames faithful disillusioned with one of Spain's historically most successful clubs.
Yet his experience toiling away at the sharp end of Los Leones' attack has been key to the player's development into an established top-flight performer, culminating in his senior debut for La Roja on 14 November 2008 in a friendly win over Chile. And four months later he would score his first goal in another friendly success, this time against England. The player’s commitment and talent earned him a place in the Spain side for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, in what was his first taste international competition.