The Albert Riera controversy has taught us plenty of things we already knew – that Riera didn’t feature in Rafa’s long-term plans, that Benitez has no desire to be his players’ best friend, and that KopTalk has no “insider” sources within Liverpool FC.
On January 13th, the following post appeared on RAWK:
Re: Dani Pacheco
Reply #532 on: January 13, 2010, 01:43:45 PM »
word on the street is young pacheco was on the receiving end of an albert riera uppercut
pacheco wasnt passing to albert
albert had a go at Pacheco
pacheco says fuck off albert
albert punches Pacheco
reina breaks it up
all are friends again
By February, the incident was already common knowledge on other LFC forums.
On March 18th, in the wake of Riera’s now-infamous Spanish radio interview, The Echo published a report headlined “Albert Riera training ground bust-up with Liverpool FC youngster meant radio outburst was final straw”:
Mar 18 2010 By Dominic King
That outburst was the final straw for an enraged Benitez, as Riera was recently involved in a training ground bust-up with an unnamed young member of Liverpool’s squad that appalled witnesses to the incident.
Riera is understood to have landed at least one blow on the youngster.
Later in the day, the national press began to give attention to the story, with similar articles running in The Telegraph:
Published: 7:55PM GMT 18 Mar 2010
The Spanish international has made just one first team start since January after the Liverpool manager was informed of a clash with a team-mate after a training session at the club’s Melwood base.
Riera was fined and excluded from the first team as punishment for the incident, but it is his withering outburst on Spanish radio on Wednesday which will mark the end of his Liverpool career, certainly while Benitez remains in charge.
and The Mirror:
Published 23:00 18/03/10 By David Maddock
A training ground bust-up with a young reserve team players lies at the heart of Albert Riera’s banishment from the Liverpool team.
And the Mirror can reveal that Benitez DID decide to wash his hands of the Spaniard after the player was involved in an angry exchange with the promising Anfield youngster.
The pair were involved in a training ground bust-up, and Benitez deemed that the senior player was out of order in the way he treated his junior colleague.
A day after these reports were published – and two months and six days after the news had appeared on RAWK – Duncan Oldham had a scoop for KopTalk members:
19/03/10 05:41 PM Why Albert Riera fell out-of-favour with Rafa Benitez
KopTalk Team Administrator
Rafa Benitez froze Albert Riera out of his plans after he saw him turn on a young reserve player during a training session at Melwood.
It is claimed that other senior first team players defused the bust-up between the midfielder and the unnamed youngster citing Riera as “out-of-order”.
Riera’s playing time is said to have been limited as a result and that prompted the player’s outburst on Spanish radio.
This is what Oldham expects Liverpool fans to pay £30+ for the privilege of reading – a virtual copy and paste of The Echo’s article without even an acknowledgement of the source. He had no prior knowledge of the incident, because he has no sources at the club. He knew nothing more than LFC fans who use NewsNow to keep up to date with developments at the club, because Oldham’s only source of information is NewsNow itself.
Note that even by March 19th, Oldham still couldn’t name the player in question, despite the fact that Pacheco had been identified as the “young reserve player” not just on the aforementioned RAWK and YNWA sites, but also on the likes of Est1892, Anfield Online, SixCrazyMinutes, This Is Anfield and LFC Online.