RIERA’S DEPARTURE: NOT SURPRISED – ERNIE MERRICK
Albert Riera joined the in-form Auckland City in New Zealand, terminating his contract by mutual consent after three seasons with Wellington Phoenix in Slovenia where he played sixty-eight games out of which he was substituted four times.
Riera told Coach Ernie Merrick after the final game of the season, that he no longer wanted to play for Wellington Phoenix and while the coach persuaded him to think it over, the midfielder had already made up his mind as there was no going back for the easy-going Spaniard.
“It was a very hard decision to make but I had been thinking about it for seven months,” Riera said from Spain where he is currently on vacation with his family.
“My time at the Phoenix has been the highlight of my life; a fairy tale that was hard to believe was happening. I’ve had a few injuries lately and as you get older, it becomes harder to shake them off. This has nothing to do with money; it is a very personal thing and it was difficult to tell Ernie what I wanted to do.”
The 32-year-old Spaniard, who arrived in New Zealand as a backpacker and finished up as one of the most respected players in the A-League, Slovenia, decided that the rigours of day-to-day training in Slovenia is no longer for him.
The Spaniard’s return to Auckland City appears as no surprise to the Wellington Phoenix’s coach Ernie Merrick who alleged he was happy to see the midfielder back to Auckland City the team he was playing for when Merrick signed him after a preseason game between the two sides.
“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said on Thursday 22nd of September.
“Fulltime professional football wasn’t in Albert’s makeup.He thoroughly enjoyed his time with us, but felt there were other things he wanted to do. He’s a terrific player, a terrific character and we’ll keep in touch with him.”
Hopefully, Riera will do really well for Auckland City, especially in the World Club Championships.