Brad Friedel, 41-year-old netminder Brad Friedel, is not the starter at Tottenham anymore. He’s given way to 25-year-old Frenchman Hugo Lloris in a move that has United States supporters up in a tizzy, but is probably the right thing long term for everyone involved. Friedel, doesn’t seem to care.
“I don’t go in and bang down doors anymore and say, You have to play me,” he tells Fox Soccer. “At my age that’s not how it works. The older you get, your ego goes down a little bit. You can see the big picture a lot more clearly.” Gosh, that’s great. Also, I suspect, a little bit a product of the situation and the new reality, but whatever. I love that Friedel’s all “yeah, I’ve had an awesome career and I know it and whatever happens now is cake. Oh cake! I’d like to eat some of that now. And I can because I’m a back up.”
You know what Friedel does want to do? Get his coaching licenses, which is exactly what he’s doing at Tottenham and one of the major reasons he resigned with the club instead of moving to Blackburn Rovers where he would have been insured of a starting place. He feels that he can learn more at Spurs, spelling Lloris when necessary and getting those badges. That’s a good attitude.
You know what else that shows? That we, the punditry, have so little idea about what’s actually going on during the transfer period. Players have motivation beyond simply getting on the field. Did you, the people, read a story about Friedel’s desire to stay at Tottenham for the sake of coaching when he was looking to re-up or move on? Of course not. He didn’t let that slip. Be wary of journalists, or anyone for that matter, saying they know the whole story behind a player’s motivation to make — or not make — a move. They don’t.
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.