Alberto Rivera Pizarro
|Full name||Alberto Rivera Pizarro|
|Date of birth||16 February 1978|
|Place of birth||Puertollano, Spain|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|1995–1997||Real Madrid C||68||(15)|
|1996–1999||Real Madrid B||84||(23)|
|1999–2000||→ Numancia (loan)||29||(1)|
|2002||→ Marseille (loan)||12||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He started out at Real Madrid, but played almost exclusively for its reserve teams during his spell. In a professional career that spanned nearly two decades, he went on to amass La Liga totals of 282 matches and ten goals over 12 seasons, also representing in the competition Numancia, Levante, Betis, Sporting de Gijón and Elche.
Rivera was born in Puertollano, Ciudad Real, Castile-La Mancha. A product of Real Madrid's youth academy he made his first-team debut aged only 17 (his only appearance for the main squad during 1994–95), scoring in a 2–0 away win against RC Celta de Vigo, with the La Liga title race already decided in their favour. He started his senior career with the C-team in Segunda División B, playing two additional full seasons with Real Madrid Castilla in the same level and appearing in five Segunda División games with the latter.
Rivera moved to CD Numancia for 1999–2000, on a loan deal. After helping the Soria side barely avoid top division relegation he returned to Real Madrid, where he was featured in two additional league matches in the following season; in January 2002 he had another loan spell, with Ligue 1's Olympique de Marseille to where he moved alongside Alfonso Pérez from FC Barcelona, and appeared regularly for the French team until the end of the campaign, in an eventual ninth-place finish.
Levante / Betis
Rivera joined Levante UD in 2002, with the team in the second division. In three seasons he was an undisputed starter, netting a career-high 11 goals in 2003–04's promotion before moving on to Real Betis upon Levante's immediate relegation (having played in all the games but one, with five goals), for €3.4 million.
Completely established in the top flight as a midfielder with skill and vision, Rivera played 34 league matches in 2005–06, with seven UEFA Champions League and three UEFA Cup additional appearances, without finding the net however. The following campaign he played 27 times, scoring his first Betis goal in a 2–3 defeat at Villarreal CF on 5 November 2006.
In mid-June 2009, after rejecting Betis' offer of a new deal, and with the Andalusians having been relegated, Rivera penned a one-year contract with fellow league club Sporting de Gijón – with the option for a further two – which had barely retained its division status, arriving on a free transfer and reuniting with former Levante boss Manolo Preciado. After the end of his second season, he received the Fair Play Award given by the Professional Football League.
Rivera appeared in an average of 31 games during his spell in Asturias, suffering top flight relegation in his third and final year. He retired in summer 2014 at the age of 36 after two seasons with Elche CF, the latter spent in the top tier.
- Un pasillo y muchos bostezos (Guard of honour and yawns aplenty); Mundo Deportivo, 11 June 1995 (in Spanish)
- Rivera bought by Betis; UEFA, 30 June 2005
- Villarreal 3–2 Real Betis; ESPN Soccernet, 5 November 2006
- El Sporting cierra el fichaje del bético Alberto Rivera (Sporting complete signing of bético Alberto Rivera); Marca, 16 June 2009 (in Spanish)
- Rivera, premio al jugador más limpio (Rivera, fair play award); El Comercio, 1 December 2011 (in Spanish)