Llorente quits as Valencia president

Madrid, April 6 (IANS) Manuel Llorente resigned as president of Spanish La Liga football club Valencia after almost four years in charge.

Llorente quit Friday over the new patrons of Valencia Foundation, which is the club’s maximum shareholder, Xinhua reports.

Llorente had replaced former club president, Francisco Soler, and his time in charge has been a constant battle in order to reduce the massive debts which have handicapped the club and which mean that no work has been carried out on the club’s new ground in around three years, leaving it an unfinished shell towards the outskirts of the city.

That saw Valencia forced to sell star players in order to earn funds and Spain international, David Silva, David Villa and Juan Mata have all left Valencia in recent years.

“I am going with a clean conscience of having done a good job,” said Llorente as he announced his departure.

“We took on the club in a precarious situation and we have left it in a much better state than when I arrived at the presidency. Now we are more respected as a club in European institutions,” he said, admitting that it was a “difficult day”, but expressing his hope that the economic recovery would continue.

Llorente added that his four years in charge had seemed like eight given the complicated circumstances of the club.

One question which Llorente has not been able to resolve is the future of Ernesto Valverde, who replaced Mauricio Pellegrino at the start of September. The former, Athletic Club Bilbao, Espanyol and Panathinaikos coach has done an excellent job since arriving at the club and has lifted Valencia away from the relegation zone up to sixth place in the table and into the battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

However, on joining the club, Valverde only agreed to a deal until the end of the current campaign and has yet to put pen to paper on a new contract. With the future direction of Valencia now up in the air, Valverde, who is widely respected in Spain, will not be short of offers for next season and may be tempted to move on given the possible turmoil that could now happen at Valencia.

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