El Centrocampista

Will forgotten man Llorente make it to Brazil?

Fernando Llorente Juventus

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil rapidly edging closer, El Centrocampista looks at the options for the Spain national squad and especially whether the forgotten man Fernando Llorente can fight his way back into the fold.

Since his official signing at Juventus on 1st July 2013, Llorente has struggled to find a similar vein of form that saw him gain so many plaudits at Athletic Bilbao and therefore has seen him slip away from Vicente Del Bosque’s eye line.

Llorente’s best days of his career thus far are definitely the time he spent at Athletic Bilbao, where’ El Rey Leon’ made 333 appearances scoring 118 goals in all competitions. During his time at Bilbao he also twice finished runner up in the Copa Del Rey (2008-2009, 2011-2012), runner up in the UEFA Europa League (2011-2012) and runner up in the Supercopa de Espana (2009).

This kind of form gained him recognition and gave the Striker an opportunity to showcase his talents on the international stage, being selected for Spain’s 2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championships squads where the Spanish national team won both tournaments.

So far in his relatively short international career Llorente has made 24 appearances and scored 7 goals, however, none of these goals have come at either a World Cup or a European Championships. He has scored at one major tournament and that was the 2009 Confederations Cup, but Llorente will be hoping that will change in Brazil if he can make it on the plane as part of Del Bosque’s 23-man squad.

Currently, his form at Italian Giants Juventus is going somewhat un-noticed. He had a slow and quiet start to the new chapter in his career but recently he has formed a formidable partnership with former Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, one that has seen them score 32 goals between them in all competitions and has currently helped Juventus open up an 11 point gap at the top of Serie A.

Llorente has 13 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions for his new club, a goal every 3 games and if he can keep his form going until the end of the domestic season we may see him at the World Cup in June.

There is serious competition for Llorente to fight off to feature for the World Champions. Athletico Madrid striker Diego Costa has been in scintillating form in what could be a title winning season for him and his team, and there are also similar situations for strikers Alvaro Negredo and Pedro at Manchester City and Barcelona respectively.

However with Fernando Torres being dropped for the first time by Del Bosque for their friendly against Italy last month, there is an opportunity for someone like Llorente to replace the out of form Chelsea man. Whilst the door is not completely closed for Spain’s third highest scorer of all time, it does seem unlikely that he will do enough to convince that he warrants his place.

In the 2012 European Championships we also saw the unique style and tactics of Del Bosque and how sometimes he would not even field an out and out striker. We often saw Cesc Fabregas lead to line playing as the ‘False 9’ and occasionally saw Catalonian lynch-pin Andres Iniesta play from the left of the 3-pronged attack.

There are plenty of attacking options available for Del Bosque as his side look to defend their title, and Llorente is staking a major claim to be one of them.

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