Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise retired from professional football in 2017, but returned to action for Norwegian fifth division side Avaldsnes on Thursday.
John Arne Riise came out on Thursday to play for Avaldsnes in the Norwegian fifth division.
The 42-year-old last played a professional game for Rollin back in 2017, capping off a remarkable 21-year career. Riise enjoyed time at the likes of Liverpool, Fulham and Roma during his playing days, winning the FA Cup, League Cup and Champions League, as well as many other major trophies.
He has since moved into coaching after retiring and he is currently in charge of women’s side Avaldsnes IL, who played in the Toppserien. However, as well as his commitments as a manager, Riise decided to return to the pitch and play for Avaldsnes’ men’s side against Rubbestadnes IL.
Avaldsnes was already leading 3-0 when the veteran came on just after halftime. Riise rolled back the years by scoring a free kick after 24 minutes and his side emerged 9-2 winners. Riise, whose goal came from the penalty spot, admitted it wasn’t his best performance but it didn’t matter.
“It was a bad penalty,” he told NRK after the game. “I wanted to smash it, but just before stretching, I dared not pull hard.” [I] placed him badly, but enough for the goalkeeper not to save. [It was] good to score in the first game [back]”.
Riise’s lack of fitness was understandable given his time off the pitch, but it appears the former left-back will continue until the end of the season. Meanwhile he will also lead the women’s after signing a new two-year contract despite him being the last in the Toppserien.
“I feel the pressure, but I have nothing to prove. I have done my part in my career,” added Riise. “It’s more about getting involved in football and having something to do in my spare time between all the work. I can’t wait to be there and hope the coach thinks I’m good enough to come up with certain things.”
Manager Ulland Andersen said: “We all know what kind of career he’s had. For the youngsters in the team in particular, it’s incredibly cool that he’s here – and inspiring for the team.”
As for Riise’s former club Liverpool, they finished fifth in the Premier League in the 2022/23 season and should be busy during the summer transfer window. The Reds made their first signing of the summer in Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton earlier this week – and are set to add further reinforcements.