It is being reported in the media that Liverpool and CSKA Moscow have reached a £6m agreement for the transfer of Spanish winger Albert Riera.
After a spell at Manchester City that ultimately proved unsuccessful, it was Rafa Benitez that revived the Spaniard’s flagging career by bringing him to Anfield from Espanyol in an £8m deal on transfer deadline day 2008.
After returning from injury, Riera has failed to make any significant impact on Liverpool’s hunt for Champions League football next season.
Failure to re-establish himself in Benitez’s first team has also seen his position in the Spanish national squad come under severe threat, and his ambitions of playing in the upcoming World Cup dwindle.
However, rather than buckling down, training hard, and taking his chances with the first team when they came along, Riera has sought to engineer an exit from Anfield in the most disgraceful way possible.
Benitez and Liverpool have been desperately looking for some flair, inspiration, and spark this season. And now more than ever, with games running out, they need someone to shine.
Riera had a real chance to step up to the plate and become the beacon that Benitez was looking for to help light the way to fourth spot.
The Spaniard has pace, skill, and a creative instinct that, if worked at, could really have proven to be an asset to Liverpool’s challenge and to his own personal dream of playing an important role in Spain’s assault on the World Cup.
Instead of proving to his club manager, the man who re-established his career, that he is indispensable and in turn re-illustrating his worth to his national team manager, the Spanish winger has opted for the selfish and easy way out.
He has realised that the level of performance he is willing to give is below that which Benitez currently expects. Lack of first team football has also threatened his World Cup aspirations. Therefore, his uncalled for and unprofessional attack on his club manager has gotten him what he planned and wished for.
Riera knew full well that such a display of petulance would result in him being reprimanded and, if continued, would see him being off loaded as soon as possible.
Well before he uttered his attack on Benitez and the club, Riera knew exactly what the outcome would be; in fact, this was what he wished the outcome to be.
Riera’s commitment to the manager and club that has given him the opportunity to even be considered for a place in the Spanish World Cup squad is there for all to see; there is none.
Rather than knuckling down and taking his chance when it came and putting in the performances that would be beneficial to the Anfield cause and in turn make his national team manager sit up and take notice, he has given Liverpool no choice but to sell him.
A lot of credit must be given to Ryan Babel, who has come under fire for sub-standard performances and has also seen his chances of appearing at the World Cup Finals decline. He also did show some resentment, but has recently put his head down and put in some useful displays.
Such outings have been praised by Benitez and, if continued, will surely see Babel on the plane to South Africa with his Dutch national teammates.
Players with the lack of loyalty and the stomach for the fight that Riera has shown do not deserve to wear the Liverpool shirt.
Moreover, his carefully planned and expertly executed exit strategy, purely for his own personal gain, will result in his days at Anfield being rapidly forgotten by fans that live for loyalty and reward it with adoration.