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Forgotten Liverpool star wins league title in debut season as manager after overcoming masked ultras invasion

Forgotten Liverpool star wins league title in debut season as manager after overcoming masked ultras invasion

He's made an excellent start to his managerial career.

Albert Riera has gone from being thrown out of his debut managerial unveiling by angry fans to being crowned champion in his first season as a head coach.

Former Liverpool winger Riera, who spent two seasons as Anfield between 2008 and 2010, hung up his boots in 2016 to move into coaching.

After two separate spell acting as assistant at Turkish club Galatasaray, Rieri took his first senior managerial role at Slovenian club Olimpija Ljubljana in July.

But there were chaotic scenes at the start of his tenure, with the former winger thrown out of his own unveiling by a group of ultras.

The supporters, many of whom were wearing balaclavas, confronted the club's sporting director Mladen Rudonja and Riera, forcing the former Liverpool man to leave the room.

According to Spanish outlet El Partidazo de COPE, the ultras were unhappy with the dismissal of former head coach Robert Prosinecki, who was sacked after a falling out with club president, Adam Delius.

Prosinecki was dismissed after just three months in the role and replaced with former Spain international Riera.

Olimpija crowned champions under Riera

Despite that shaky start to his time at the club, Riera quickly settled and has now guided Olimpija to the Slovenian league title in his first season at the club.

They clinched the title five rounds before the end of the season after defeating rivals Maribor 2-0 on Sunday.

"Proud is probably the word for this group of players. I could not have asked for more before the season," Riera said.

"This was a special game, the first opportunity to win the title. And against whom? Our perennial rivals."

Riera is just one of a number of former Liverpool players to have moved into management in recent seasons.

Riera's former Liverpool teammate and captain Steven Gerrard took charge of Rangers in 2018 and would later win the Scottish Premiership title before moving on to Aston Villa in 2021.

He was later sacked by Villa in October after lasting just 11 months in the role.

Meanwhile, several other teammates are currently in managerial positions including Xabi Alonso (Bayer Leverkusen), Daniel Agger (HB Koge) and Andrea Dossena (Renate).

Featured Image Credit: Alamy, COPE and Instagram/Olimpija Ljubljana

Topics: Liverpool, Football