Marcelo Bielsa denies rift with Fernando Llorente, Javi Martinez

Bielsa denies rift with Bilbao duo
© 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.

Fernando Llorente
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