Words: ACFC Media
Wednesday 1 December 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Auckland City FC is delighted to announce Albert Riera as our new head coach.
One of the greatest players in Auckland City FC's 17-year history during his long and illustrious career, Riera returns to Kiwitea Street ahead of the 2022 season.
The 37-year-old said: "There are exciting times ahead. I'm very happy. It wasn't too long ago I was playing for this club and now I'm head coach and its an exciting time.
"Everyone knows me as a player but now I'm starting my coaching career playing the Auckland City FC way.
"My DNA as a player was Auckland City FC and at the end of the day, as a coach, its going to be similar, it won't change that much," he said.
Riera experienced much success during his time at the club making 142 appearances between 2011 and 2021. He won the OFC Champions League three times and was a key figure in Auckland City FC winning the ISPS Handa Premiership league title in 2011-12.
His careful touch allied with all-round quality and stamina helped change the way possession football was viewed at domestic level in New Zealand and Oceania.
Welcome to #AucklandCityFC Albert Riera— Auckland City FC (@AucklandCity_FC) November 30, 2021
Albert Riera named new head coach:
"I'm very passionate about what I'm doing and I was the same as a player. Now I'm a coach, it gets worse! I'm even more passionate."
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Riera's dedication to improvement, versatility and reading of the game was exemplary, and those assets bode well as he begins life in charge of a club he knows inside out.
Not surprisingly Riera has a fantastic relationship with everyone at Kiwitea Street where he was voted Player of the Year, Players Player of the Year and Personality of the Year.
"My advantage is I know how this club works and I know the players and they know me. They know I'm all about intensity and you have to earn your spot on a daily basis.
"Every player knows that is the case and I'm sure I'm not going to have to tell them, " he said.
The Barcelona-born ex-midfielder can draw on experience from when he played for the Wellington Phoenix for three years where he made 68 appearances and was voted Player of the Year in 2013-14 under then coach Ernie Merrick.
Riera also made a big impression when he played a star role for the A-League All Stars in their 3-2 defeat to Juventus, a Juventus side that contained Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Carlos Tevez, Patrice Evra and Gianluigi Buffon, at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on August 10, 2014.
"I'm very passionate about what I'm doing and I was the same as a player. Now I'm a coach, it gets worse! I'm even more passionate.
"I see exciting times ahead and enthusiasm is going to be a big part of that and we're going to show that on the pitch as well.
"Its not just words - I want to see a team that creates chances and that is nice to watch," he said.
Riera's thoughts turned to life after playing when he took over the Northern League reigns at struggling West Coast Rangers in the second half of last season. West Coast Rangers showed immediate improvement until the Covid-19 pandemic saw the 2021 season eventually cancelled.
"Coaching is a different task to playing and I'm excited to get started. I'm very ambitious about dominating the game, I think everyone wants to do that but not every team is capable of doing that.
"Auckland City FC have proved over the years they're capable of doing that and I want to see that continue.
"I'm not talking about a revolution, more of an evolution. We're going to try to keep the ball and dictate what happens in a game.
Auckland City FC chairperson Ivan Vuksich added: "It gives us great pleasure to welcome Albert back to Auckland City FC as head coach. Albert possesses fantastic knowledge and understanding of the club.
"Albert is very familair with a possession-based game that has been around Kiwitea Street for 10-12 years and the players have bought into it big time and they like it.
"I was impressed with how Albert went about his role at West Coast Rangers. Albert is an articulate and positive person and the right person for this club. I think he can do a good job for us.
"After seven years with us as a player we believe this is the perfect time for him to return and are delighted he has done so. We will do everything we can to ensure he has all the support required to be a huge success," Vuksich said.