Marcelo Bielsa denies rift with Fernando Llorente, Javi Martinez

Marcelo Bielsa
© PA Photos
Marcelo Bielsa insists that he is not the reason why Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez want to leave Athletic Bilbao.

Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa has insisted that he is not the reason why star duo Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez want to leave the club this summer.

Striker Llorente and midfielder Martinez are both expected to depart San Mames, with the former linked with Juventus and the latter poised to join Bayern Munich.

"Athletic are going through a difficult time and it is not helped by malicious information," Bielsa is quoted as saying by Marca.

"I asked Llorente and Martinez if I was the reason why they do not not want to stay at the club, and both said 'no'.

"Had they answered 'yes', then I would have acted accordingly."

Both Llorente and Martinez have been left out of Bilbao's squad to face HJK Helsinki in the first leg of their Europa League playoff tie on Thursday.

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TeamPGDPTS
1Atletico Madrid345285
2Barcelona346681
3Real Madrid336279
4Athletic Bilbao342262
5Sevilla341859
6Real Sociedad34754
7Villarreal341252
8Valencia34045
9Espanyol34-641
10Malaga34-641
11Levante34-1141
12Celta Vigo34-1140
13Rayo Vallecano34-2940
14Granada34-2037
15Elche34-1935
16Osasuna34-2535
17Real Valladolid33-1832
18Getafe34-2232
19Almeria34-3230
20Real Betis34-4022