Albert Riera keen to learn from Juve stars
Josep Gombau's men took to the pitch for the first time at Woolongong's WIN Stadium ahead of their August 10 friendly against the Serie A giants.
Riera was called up to the All-Stars last week, a remarkable story that began with the Spaniard moving to New Zealand to get away from football and his day job as a paramedic.
His break from football did not last long with the 30-year-old signing with Auckland City before being picked up by new Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick ahead of the 2013-14 season.
He capped off the season by being voted Phoenix's player of the year, with his performances earning him a spot in Gombau's All-Stars and a dream match-up against Juventus.
"It’s funny how life works out," Riera said. "When I came here it was to have a break from soccer and my job and I’ve turned out to be a 24-hour soccer player."
"It’s because I’m enjoying it. It’s the main thing to me, to be happy, and I’ve been doing that so far. It’s the bottom line for me and as long as I keep enjoying it I will keep doing that."
Riera is looking forward to playing against the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio and even thinks he can learn a thing or two.
"Even though I’m not a youngster I still want to learn," Riera said. "Playing against those guys you can learn a lot of things.
"I’m really looking forward to it, to see how they move. It’s not the same than when we are watching on TV compared to playing live against those guys."
As for his teammates, Riera is also excited to link up with what is usually the opposition.
"I’ve got the chance to play against them, never with them so it’s going to be very interesting," he said.