The sporting world is constantly evolving which makes the ability to remain at the top so difficult and why so few manage to achieve it. When Fernando Llorente was playing for Athletic Bilbao in their Europa Cup run of 2011/12 it seemed the world was at his feet. He was scoring lots of goals and became one of their most recognised players.
A move to Juventus followed shortly afterwards, amidst interest from several of Europe’s leading clubs, and it appeared to be a perfect match.
Indeed his first season in Italy proved very successful domestically but unfortunately he was unable to sustain it and last summer Juventus sold him to Sevilla for a reduced fee.
The move back to Spain following a couple of seasons without guaranteed first team football was supposed to enable him to play more and hopefully recapture the form that had made him one of Spain’s leading strikers.
The main problem
The problem for Llorente is that the game has changed significantly in the four years since Bilbao’s wonderful displays that captured everyone’s imagination.
When he was playing in Spain he was the focal point for lots of young, quick and nimble midfielders, whom allied with great technical ability ensured that he received most of the side’s chances. Due to the attacking nature of the side and the work ethic of the team it allowed him more space.
Once he had moved to Italy and the game became slower and more physical he was again initially in his element. However, with more pace injected into the Old Lady’s team in his second season and more of an emphasis on speed he struggled to cement his place.
He had become an impact player rather than a starter. When the game was starting to stretch and defenders started to tire he was brought on to test them physically and create space for his team mates.
Arrival at Sevilla
When he arrived at Sevilla it was assumed, with the loss of Bacca to Milan, that he would be given the role of leading the line. However, in Kevin Gameiro he has once again found himself coming off the bench in the second half to try and influence the game.
As Gameiro’s form has continued Llorente has found himself acting as more and more of an impact player. The current desire for a quick and technical striker to lead the line has become of paramount importance and despite Llorente’s experience and finishing ability he will have to accept this role going forward.
Can be of assistance to Sevilla, but needs to accept his new standing
At the elite level of any sport the prerequisites for a performer can change suddenly.
There are very few who have the required ability to remain at the top for long and unfortunately for Llorente the game has moved on slightly without him.
Written by Andy Hunter
Follow Andy on Twitter @hunter67980
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