Phoenix re-sign Riera, Boxall
Albert Riera's fairytale rise to professional football is set to continue, with the Spanish midfielder signing a one-year contract extension at the Wellington Phoenix.
Albert Riera's fairytale rise to professional football is set to continue for at least another season, with the Spanish midfielder signing a one-year contract extension at the Wellington Phoenix.
Riera joining the Phoenix was one of the stories of the A-League off-season - a former part-time footballer who failed to make the top grade in his native Spain - he was playing for Auckland City when he came up against Wellington in a pre-season friendly, and impressed enough to earn a move to the A-League club.
Having already made 14 appearances this season, the 30-year-old has now been rewarded with an extended deal lasting until the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
"I was quite happy to come to the club as back up because I knew it would give me the chance to show what I was capable of and to fight for a starting spot," Riera said.
"I was surprised to go straight in but I am enjoying it and that is down to (coach) Ernie (Merrick).
"He is so positive and talks to players a lot. In one game we were really struggling in the first half and thought we would be told off at halftime.
"Instead he came in and told us to start smiling and to enjoy ourselves.
"He is a top-class coach and a top-class person."
Defender Michael Boxall, who has made four appearances this season under Merrick, has also agreed a new one-year deal.