Category: Uncategorized

Albert Riera – a weird career

Albert Riera’s case as a Footballer is pretty weird. He got a break at Liverpool when nobody expected him to. He hadn’t done anything extraordinary to earn that deal, but Rafa Benitez who is known for cracking deals like these landed him at the Merseyside.

Most of the Liverpool supporters when Riera first joined in had no idea who he was. But Riera didn’t take too long to create a good fan-base for himself at Anfield. His performance as a left winger was fantastic throughout his first season as he provided ample support to the offensive line of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres which was one of the main reasons why Liverpool looked as threatening a side as they did. They could have actually gone on to lift the Premiership trophy that season, but sadly they couldn’t and finished 4 points short of the eventual champions United.
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Alvaro Morata heaps praise on Chelsea’s new signing

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has heaped praise on Mateo Kovacic after the Croatia made the switch to the west London giants. The midfielder joined the Blues on a season-long loan before the transfer deadline as part of the agreement which witnessed Thibaut Courtois head to Real Madrid on a permanent basis.

Kovacic has since joined the Blues for first-team training and speaking to the club’s official website, Morata has spoked positively about the impact the Croatian may have, he said: “Mateo, first of all, is an amazing person. He is a midfielder who is good with the ball, very technical. He can break through the lines with his quality, he can score goals and he has a lot of power in his legs. With him we will win a lot of possession and he has the ability to carry the ball into the final third and provide passes for the strikers. ‘He’s a very good player which is very important for us because we need top players.”
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FORMER STARS MOVING TO STRANGE PLACES FOR THE GAME

As players age but want to remain active in the game, many have had to move to strange obscure players where they can get the opportunity to continue to ply their trade. There have been many instances where players move to unheard or rarely heard places in football just to stay relevant.

One of the Italian stars of the 2006 World Cup winning team, Gianluca Zambrotta was one that might not be as heard of, despite his contributions. He did almost as much as Fabio Cannavaro, who would go on to win the Best Player Award and he defended like Alessandro Nesta, who received critical acclaim.
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Riera Looks To Finish Career With NEw League

Having gone through and already played in a number of different clubs and leagues around the world, Albert Riera at his 32 years of age has joined Udinese where he will be performing in what will probably be the last few years of his professional career. The Italian League is a new challenge for Riera who already has vast experience performing in top tier leagues around the world such as: Premier League and La Liga (Spanish League)

This time around Riera is going to be setting foot in a league where he has never played before as he signed a contract with the Italian side Udinese.

Before signing with Udinese, Riera performed with the New Zealand outfit Wellington Pheonix and he finished on a high note as the veteran winger was named as the best player for the club during his debut season in the team.

Albert Riera performed in the A-League All Stars match against Juventus which was played on August 10 and the Spanish footballer expressed his joy as he received the jersey of Andrea Pirlo at the end of the match.

Riera told reporters: “It was amazing; at halftime I went up to him when we were walking back to the changing room and he said no problem. At the end of the game we swapped shirts and chatted for a couple of minutes which was really special. I need to wash the shirt first and then frame it up. Manny got Patrice Evra’s shirt so he is very happy too.”

Andrea Pirlo is one of the most well-known figures of the Italian League and even at his 35 years of age, Pirlo still continues playing at a high level and is one of the most important players for Juventus with his precise free-kick and superb passing range.

Di Natale Aims For 200 Goals Before Retirement

It has been around 1 month since Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale made up his mind and continues to perform for the Italian club as the 36 year old forward has a few goals that he wants to accomplish before retiring.

When the Italian season concluded, Di Natale had already revealed to the media that he was thinking about hanging up his boots and step down from playing at a competitive level but the veteran attacker has now revealed that there still are things left to do in his career.

Antonio Di Natale said: “Three months ago I no longer had the wish to play, but then club owner Giampaolo Pozzo and my family made me change my mind. The people that are close to me have asked me to continue and to score my 200th goal. I am seven goals away from that mark. It would be fantastic to achieve that, but in order to do so I need to be well physically and prepare in the best possible way for the season. It would be amazing to equal the record of 205 Serie A goals set by Roberto Baggio.”

Even at his 36 years of age, Antonio Di Natale still plays a key role in Udinese as he was able on scoring 17 league goals in the previous season which was more goals than any other player of the entire squad.

Udinese has had a fairly busy transfer window as the Italian club secured the services of Pablo Armero, Juan Cuadrado, Cyril Thereau, Albert Riera, Alexis Zapata, Nicolas Lopez, Valerio Verre and Gabriel Torje.

The new head coach of the club, Andrea Stramaccioni is hoping that all of these arrivals will increase the performances of the team and have a better season than their previous campaign where they struggled on claiming victory and had to settle with the 13th spot in the Italian League.

COLLETT BACKS AGUIRRE

The president of Espanyol, Joan Collet is hoping that Javier Aguirre remains being the manager for the next season but he is aware that the Mexican also has other offers for him to choose from.

“We’re very happy with him but he needs to decide if he wants to stay, because there are other offers, other deals that his work here has earned, but I don’t really think he wants to go. I’ve little doubt that he has the enthusiasm to stay here.” Joan Collet said.

Espanyol’s goalkeeper Kiko Casilla is a summer target of Arsenal, Barcelona and Manchester United but the 27 years old shot-stopper revealed that he has no intentions of leaving the club anytime soon.

“My intention is to stay here. This club gave me so much when things were going badly, and I always had a helping hand when I needed them. Now I am happy here, enjoying myself and playing. This is where I belong.”

“I’m not at all worried. I have a year on my contract and I’ll still be here for that time and hopefully even more. My intention has always been to stay here because when I’ve been out and things didn’t go well, I’ve always had the support of the club.” Casilla said.

Barcelona are still keeping their eyes opened in the transfer market for a replacement of Victor Valdez who will be leaving the club at the end  meanwhile for Manchester United, Kiko Casilla can serve as a back-up for David De Gea.

Kiko Casillas has one year remaining in his contract with Espanyol and he has already expressed his desire and ambition of concluding the contract he signed with the Spanish club some time ago and the shot-stopper has even released statements of wanting to extend his stay with Espanyol for a longer period.

RIERA LEFT OUT

Earlier this year Albert Riera made his way out of the Turkish side Galatasaray and joined the Wellington Phoenix but the Spanish midfielder has suffered a groin tear during a training session with his new team that will be leaving him out of action for a few weeks.

The head coach of the club Ernie Merrick spoke about the condition of Riera on a press conference.

“It looks like Albert has torn a deep groin muscle just at the end of training. It doesn’t look good. We’ll assess it tomorrow. But Alex Rufer is on standby for his place in the travelling squad,” said Merrick.

“Deep groin muscles aren’t good to deal with, so it could be a little while before he’s back … It looks like Albert has torn a deep groin muscle, just at the end of training. So it doesn’t look good. He’s been outstanding … It is sad because he’s been playing very well; he’s been running the show. He’s turned out to be one of the best middle midfielders in the league.”

The side of Ernie Merrick has been taking a few blows in their squad with Paul Ifill, Louis Fenton and Leo Bertos all out with injuries and now Albert Riera is the latest player that joins the list of injuries.

West Bromwich is believed to be interested in securing the services of the former Liverpool player Alber Riera. The Premier League side which is struggling to keep themselves out of the bottom relegation zone took an interest in the Spanish midfielder ever since he was expected to leave Galatasaray.

INTO THE QUARTERS

Galatasaray lifted the expectations of their fans and supporters by getting into the quarter-finals of the Champions League but in this season their last encounter of the group stages sees them having to defeat the Italian titans Juventus in order for them to survive and keep on advancing any further in the European tournament.

The Turkish team faced Antonio Conte’s side during their 1st leg which concluded in in a 2-2 draw.

If the final result is another draw, it will not be enough for Galatasaray in their European journey as the only outcome that can put them ahead will be a victory with all 3 points propelling them into the next round of the Champions League alongside the already qualified Real Madrid.

This victory will be easier said than done considering that Mancini’s side has been struggling on getting consistent performances. The Turkish team is one of the clubs in the group stages of the Champions League that has conceded more goals this season and with a Juventus team that will be going all out in search of a victory it will be a hard task ahead of them when they face off against the Italian titans.

Meanwhile on the attacking department of Galatasaray, Burak Yilmaz is performing superbly in the Turkish league but it’s a totally different story in the Champions League as he has failed to score a goal despite his large number of appearances and while Umut Bulut has scored more goals in the European tournament he is not the consistent performer that Mancini might want to.

This leaves their passage into the round of 16 hanging in the balance with nothing more than a victory being the only thing that can see them going through.

MANCINI CHASES CITY PLAYERS

The manager of Galatasaray SK, Roberto Mancini, is believed to be looking to bid for a couple of Manchester City players during the mid-season transfer window. Those two players are Gareth Barry who has been playing for Everton on loan at the moment and Aleksandar Kolarov who was reported to be on the radar of Galatasaray during the pre-season transfer window as well.

Mancini knows both these players pretty well as he was the City boss until the last season. He is believed to have a good tuning with these two players and people should not be surprised that much if he manages to lure both of them to Turkey.

As far as Barry is concerned, his contract with the Sky Blues is going to expire at the end of this season and considering his age and form, the City management will not be too much interested in giving him a contract extension. So, securing his services should not be that difficult for Mancini.

But, getting Kolarov is not going to be that easy for the Italian manager. First, City would probably not let Kolarov go and even if they do so, there are already quite a few top clubs waiting in line to secure the services of the 28 years old left-back.

For Galatasaray, signing Kolarov is more important than signing Barry because they don’t have a quality left-back at the moment. In that position, they have been using Dany who is actually a centre-back.

A few days ago, when Kolarov was asked about him being on the radar of a lot of clubs around the world, he made it clear that he is currently not looking to take a transfer.

The Serbian international said, “There are a couple of years left in my contract and I am not looking to go anywhere else.”

SPAIN SQUAD ANNOUNCED

The Spanish squad has been announced for the upcoming friendly match against Ecuador which is going to take place at Estadio Olimpico Atahualpa on Wednesday.

As expected, the senior players have been rested and the youngsters have been brought in.

This will be Spain’s first match after their defeat against Brazil in the final of the Confederations Cup one and half months back.

The senior players who haven’t been picked are Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Fernando Torres and Xavi.

Quite a few members of the U-21 squad including Thiago Alcantara and Isco have been called up.

Announcing the squad yesterday, the manager of the Spanish team Vicente Del Bosque said, “This is just the beginning of the season and we will have to consider many factors at this point of time.”

“This shouldn’t be seen as a friendly fixture only. This is a very important match. If we do well here, we will go into the match against Finland in a positive frame of mind.”

Spain has performed quite well in the World Cup qualifiers so far. They have won 3 out of their 5 games. The remaining couple of games have been draws.

La Roja is currently at the first position in the Group I points table with 11 points. France which is at no. 2 has one point less than them.

Spain still has to play 3 World Cup qualifiers. The first one of them will be against Finland on 6th of September at Helsinki Olympiastadion. After that, there will be a couple of home games against Belarus and Georgia respectively.

When asked about Spain being in a comfortable position in Group I, Bosque said, “Yes, we are at the top of the table with only 3 games left. So, we have a great chance, but, we can’t be careless.”