Llorente to join Juventus in July

Milan, Jan 24 (IANS) Italian football league leaders Juventus confirmed Thursday that Spanish international striker Fernando Llorente will join them July 1 this year.

The 27-year-old has agreed to terms for a four-year deal and will move to Turin when his Athletic Bilbao contract expires at the end of the current season, according to a statement released on the club's official website, reports Xinhua.

Born in Pamplona, Llorente progressed through the Basque outfit's academy ranks before being loaned out to feeder club Baskonia during the 2003/04 campaign.

Bolstered by a season's first team experience, the frontman, nicknamed El Rey Leon (The Lion King), soon became a permanent fixture in Athletic Bilbao's strikeforce.

In nine seasons at San Mames, Llorente has made 334 appearances and scored 104 goals in all competitions. The striker's best return came during the 2011/12 campaign, when his 29 goals helped Los Leones to the Copa Del Rey and Europa League finals.

A fearsome aerial presence coupled with excellent close control has earned Llorente international recognition with his native Spain. He was included in the triumphant World Cup 2010 and European Championship 2012 squads, and has notched 7 goals in 21 caps.

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