Soccer business

Valencia CF president Llorente steps aside

“We leave the club in a much better position,” says bank-appointed chief

Madrid -
Manuel Llorente, pictured at Friday's press conference.
Manuel Llorente, pictured at Friday's press conference.EFE

"I was finished... very tired after four years of continuous stress." With these words, Valencia president Manuel Llorente stood down after four years at the helm of the financially stricken Liga soccer club.

Llorente was installed for his second stint at the club in 2009 by Bancaja, the club's principal creditor, which has now been absorbed by nationalized lender Bankia, meaning the regional government of Valencia is effectively the major shareholder in the club. Llorente's decision to leave after steering Valencia away from the rocks is due to a disagreement with the club's shareholders over the financial running of Valencia CF.

"I leave here with a clear conscience of having done a good job," said Llorente at a press conference in Valencia on Friday.

"We leave a club that is in a much better position than when we took it over in June 2009. After listening to the new president of the foundation, I understood a new era was beginning. I hope the club and the foundation can fix the problems. The situation is still delicate but it will improve."

Crippled by debts, with half a new stadium built and unable to sell the land upon which the Mestalla stands, Valencia has propped itself up with loans and the sale each summer of its star assets, among them Spain internationals David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata.

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