Even if he doesn’t start Saturday’s game against Liverpool, there’s a good chance Fernando Llorente will feature at some point in the Champions League final for Tottenham.
Standing in for Harry Kane during the England international’s absence through injury, the towering Spaniard was key in seeing off both Manchester City and Ajax to make it to the final in Madrid.
Already going up against great defenders like Aymeric Laporte and Matthijs de Ligt in those games, Llorente will be preparing to face a whole different player in Virgil Van Dijk on Saturday, widely considered one of, if not the best centre-back in the world right now.
Speaking to La Rioja ahead of the game, the Tottenham striker was asked about the match up, and the 34-year-old couldn’t help but talk up his opponent.
He said: “He’s one of the best in the world, without a doubt. He’s probably the most physical centre-back I’ve played against. I already played against him when he was at Southampton when I was at Swansea, and he left a big impression.
“However, we’re not really focusing on Liverpool. I think it’s more important to focus on ourselves, to know what we need to improve, what we need to do on Saturday and have everything clear in our heads”.
Out of contract in the summer, there has been a lot of speculation about Llorente’s future at Tottenham beyond the current campaign, and we will likely find out more after his game against Virgil Van Dijk and his teammates at the weekend.
The veteran forward has made 34 appearances in all competitions this season under Mauricio Pochettino, scoring eight goals and assisting teammates five times.