Sunday, November 2, 2008

End to the Albert Riera Saga

something else from the  past:
It is reported that Albert Riera is already at LFC for medical and if everything goes as planned, he will be the latest signing for us. For a fee of 8.5 million, he is not a highly rated player because a 'good' player would cost about 20 million. Someone like Barry for example, and this fantastic price tag is not only because he is an English player. So they say. 
Riera speaks English well I assume since he was born in the popular British holiday island of Majorca. I also assume that he reads the papers, maybe even the British tabloids. And I assume he would have seen and read the Barry saga. And I assume that he is relieved that he is just one of the options for LFC because Rafa could not land the service of Barry. I mean, nobody would want to go to a fantastic club like LFC with a huge burden that demands you to deliver because you were chased for the whole summer and where expectations are so high, they write evil things about you in the papers. Going to LFC as he does, people do not really expect any wonders from him. After all, he is not known to be prolific goal scorer and some quarters also deem him as a failure at Man City when his loan was not made permanent. Many look at him as an average player. And he has been bought because LFC couldn't afford Barry. This is indeed good news for him, on top of the fact that LFC supporters are usually patient with new players and trust Rafa and his decisions. He will definitely get a song or a chant from the Liverpool fans. This non-high-expectations would help Riera to settle down quietly at LFC, with or without the tag of being only a squad player in Rafa's side.
But the situation at LFC at the moment is such that I think he will be a key player in Rafa's usual plans to try to win all the trophies this season. We have a problem at the left flank and Riera is supposed to be the answer to that problem. We do have problems in different areas too, such as the right flank, but that is a different issue because Riera is a left flank player. It will be interesting to see how he plays his role in this area and how many games he gets to play with Babel and Benayoun as other options. 
I watched a few videos of Riera at the Mirror site, a total of about 25 minutes worth of him at different clubs and for Spain. Doesn't do him justice since he has played for so many years and footages like these ones can't be considered as the whole truth of what he is capable or incapable of. There is even one on youtube entitled "Top 15 longshot goals" and the producer of the video doesn't even know his name. And I am not joking. Just a '?' (question mark) that put him at 5th place. You can catch it here : .He looks like a strong lad, dribbles well, has pace and looks like he could hold the ball well too. He looks great at counter attacks with his speed and skills. But his shortcomings are apparent too (in the short videos that do not do him justice, of course). He can't cross the ball well. He gets into great positions but his final ball is most of the times crap. And unlike Babel, he doesn't score that many goals. Watching him in those videos, I am reminded of Pennant and his shortcomings. All skills and not much of a danger. But of course, as I said, this should never be considered as the whole truth. He could turn out to a better Ronaldo in the league because Riera has another side to his game. Scoring from a long range. He did strike a cracker once in his lifetime. And this is according to what I have seen in the videos.

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