Ex-Liverpool and Manchester City winger, Albert Riera denies being sacked by Serie A club, Udinese after he missed a match to play in the poker tournament in Slovenia where he won £3,000 for finishing second.

Riera’s contract with the Italian side was terminated on Thursday, but the 32-year old, who played 55 times and scored four goals in the Premier League, has insisted it was by ‘mutual consent’ and for football reasons. The Spaniard spent two years at Anfield after joining Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool from Espanyol for £8 million in 2008, having had an unsuccessful loan spell at the Ethihad two years earlier.

He signed for Udinese from Turkish giants, Galatasaray in March but has been allowed to leave following his absence.

Udinese announced Riera’s departure on Thursday on the club’s official website.

Udinese Calcio announces that the contract with the footballer, Albert Ortega Riera has been terminated by mutual consent, we therefore wish the footballer all the best in his future career,” the club posted.

The player tweeted to clarify the termination of the contract is by “mutual agreement, not due to reasons outside football.”

He joined Watford on loan until the end of the season three days after signing a pre-contract for Udinese on March 24. He made eight appearances in the Championship, scoring once, but the former Spain international failed to make a single appearance for Udinese.

Riera made a name for himself when he was at Espanyol where he won one Copa del Rey and reached on UEFA Cup final and also gaining 16 caps for the Spanish National team. Now a free agent and looking for a club, he has posted photographs on Twitter of him playing poker with friends and team-mates.