The Mirror has reported that the £8 million contract of Albert Riera, the football star, was considered null and void after his missed a game to take part in a live poker tournament.
The Spanish football player was expected to play a Serie A match against Chievo, but decided to miss it in favor of a live poker tournament in Solvenia, in which he won £3,000. Since he referred to the Udinese as “the world club I’ve ever played for,” it becomes quite clear that he did not skip the match because he was fond of poker. Riera has received up to €2.5 million to play football per season.
However, he denies that the Italian Serie A Club has sacked him for taking part in a poker tournament. He tweeted: “To clarify, the termination of the contract is by mutual agreement, not due to reasons outside the football.” The relationship between Riera and the Udinese is rather strained.
The club stated on its webpage that it “announces that the contract with the footballer Albert Ortega Riera has been terminated by mutual consent” and that the club wishes him “all the best for his future career.”
Riera, who had joined Udinese when the previous season was drawing to a close, was quickly lent to the English Championship Club Watford. This must have upset him as he had been signed for a $8 million contract with Liverpool and has grabbed 16 caps for his country. He played eight times for Watford, but did not play even once for the Udinese.
In 2011, he had quit Liverpool on grounds that he did not get any first-team games. He also issued a statement to the Spanish press, in which he criticized Rafael Benitez, the manager of Liverpool.
He was in Greece and Turkey for a season each, and after his contract was officially terminated, he travelled to Italy. Considering the fact that Riera is not having a good time on the football field, he may soon consider playing poker as a career. It is worth noting that he not only took part in the poker tournament in Slovenia, but reached the heads-up play and finished as the runner-up, collecting a prize of $4,430.
As he is now a free bird, he is searching for a football club to sign him on. He has also posted a few pictures of himself on Twitter playing poker with team-mates and friends.