Tottenham Hotspur striker Fernando Llorente has revealed his desire to return to Athletic before his career comes to an end.
The 34-year-old is firmly behind Harry Kane in the pecking order at the club and found himself heavily linked with a move away in January. However, Llorente remained with Tottenham to replace Kane, who suffered an ankle injury in mid-January which kept him out of action for over a month.
In an interview with Marca, Llorente revealed his desire to end his career in Spain. He said: "There was a lot of talk about my possible departure to Athletic but seeing the injuries that Tottenham had, I knew it would be complicated. It would be nice to retire at Athletic."
A product of the Athletic youth academy, Llorente spent nine years as part of the senior setup between 2004 and 2013, racking up 111 goals and 36 assists in 327 appearances.
His impressive form for his club earned Llorente a call up to Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad in 2008, and he netted his first goal in a friendly victory over England in early 2009.
He managed to score 29 goals across the 2011/12 season, but then refused to sign a new contract at the club. He clashed with then boss Marcelo Bielsa and was eventually forced to train with the youth teams, prompting interest from many of Europe's elite sides.
Juventus were the eventual winners in the race for Llorente's signature, bringing the Spaniard to the club on a free transfer in 2013. Moves to Sevilla and Swansea City followed, before Tottenham signed Llorente for around £12m in 2017.
Acting as a backup to Kane, Llorente has made 52 appearances in his time with Mauricio Pochettino's side, registering 12 goals and five assists in all competitions.
However, 21 of his outings have lasted less than ten minutes, and he has started just four Premier League matches, three of which have come in the last five games as Kane was forced into a period on the sidelines. With the England man now fully fit, Llorente has found himself demoted to the bench once again.