Llorente to leave Bilbao
The 27-year-old turned down the offer of a new deal and said he wanted to move on over the summer, but the Basque outfit refused to negotiate with potential suitors and hoped to change the player's mind.
However, Llorente, who has spent a large chunk of the current La Liga season on the bench due to the issue, today announced at a press conference that his decision was final. "Yes, I'm leaving on 30 June," he said. "I want to try other things."
Asked whether his decision was irreversible, he replied: "Yes. I made it when I played my first match at San Mames in the Europa League (against Slaven Koprivnica on 2 August)."
Llorente - Athletic's top scorer last term with 17 league goals - said the press were partly to blame for his departure, accusing them of turning sections of the club's fans against him. "Let it be clearly stated - it is not an economic issue," he said. "Athletic's offer was irresistible.
"The press has not really helped my renewal. It is one of the reasons that bad feeling has been generated towards me on the field (from the fans), and that's what has prompted me to not renew. That, along with many other things."
"You (the media) have not helped because most of what has come out in the press has been lies, but people have tipped the balance against me. That has come out on the field, with people blowing their whistles. It is (only) a section that wants me out, I respect that. I feel loved by most of the Athletic fans.
"I feel the support of my colleagues - that is very important," he said. "I will prove that I am with them to the death."
Llorente, a product of the Athletic youth academy, made his senior debut in January 2005 and has since become a key man for the club, as well as winning both the FIFA World Cup™ and European Championship with Spain.
However, he has started only one game and scored only one goal in La Liga for Marcelo Bielsa's side this season. "What has come around is hurting us and does not sit well with us," he added. "We try to work hard every week to get it right and get goals and wins.
"I am not thinking about anything more than being prepared to play each game here until June 30, when my contract finishes. What happens next... you will ask me, but I am not going to say anything because I am focused on the team. I have had chats with Bielsa, but they will remain between him and me."