Benitez makes it very clear to this pair that they both have plenty to prove.
Babel has revealed he would be interested in a loan move to Ajax when the transfer window reopens in January, while Riera made only his first start of the campaign at Bolton last weekend.
Benitez insists both players will get chances to shine over the coming months – and that it will then be down to them to seize the opportunities which come their way.
“Albert and Ryan both want to play,” said Benitez. “They play in the same position and so have to compete with each other, which is good for us.
“The message is very simple. On the pitch all of the players have to prove something.
“Ryan knows he cannot go now, so he has to impress. He is a good player and we know he has talent. It’s important for us to talk with him and see how he progresses over these months.
“With the World Cup at the end of the year the majority of our players will want to impress and if they do well in each training session they will have more chances.” (Official Website)
To be honest whilst Riera may have been at the club less time than Ryan Babel he is probably due a fair bit of flak also. The Spanish winger hasn’t really done enough to justify a consistent run in the team and Yossi Benayoun deserves his place ahead of both players.
Rafa is right to make it clear to both players that it is up to them to show the club what they are capable of and then, and only then, will they be considered first choice starters. Both have World Cup places to play for. Babel is probably very close to getting the loan, or permanent, move he has bleated on about this week and Riera was apparently the subject of much speculation in relation to a move back to Spain.
Come on lads both of you need to let your talents do the talking.