Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reira admits Row with Rafa

LIVERPOOL winger Albert Riera has admitted a bust-up with Rafa Benitez over a possible move to Barcelona is keeping him out of the first team.

Riera has started only one Premier League game this season and has hinted that having his head turned by the Spanish champions is behind his boss’s hardline stance.

The Spain winger said: “I didn’t play the first two games of the season because, like Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres, I joined the squad late having been at the Confederations Cup.

“I got angry and had an argument with Benitez over being left out. But the day I don’t get angry at being a sub is the day I retire.”

Barca were chasing a winger throughout the summer and Riera, 27, was on their agenda, along with Manchester City’s Robinho.

Riera added: “I would like to think that being left out wasn’t a punishment for having that on my mind.

“I won’t deny that there was something there. It is true that Barcelona showed an interest in me.

“But I play for Liverpool, a European great. Benitez is an extraordinary coach who fights his corner.”

Riera also revealed he would prefer to be played as an out-and-out winger and that he has his eye on a return to Spain at some point in the future.

He said: “I know the manager has faith in me because he told me himself.

“I am a winger but in England I’ve learnt to play inside, to defend, to cover more ground.

“But it’s true that I prefer to play right on the touchline. Yes, I’d like to return to La Liga when the time is right.”

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