Mike Slane: You can't help but feel bad for Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel was almost in tears as he sat in FOX's broadcast boost during the Champions League final last May. Chelsea had just knocked off Bayern Munich, and at the same time bumped Friedel's Tottenham out of Europe's top competition for the next season.

This was supposed to be Friedel's time to shine in the Champions League after he helped lead Spurs to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. For the first time in his 18-year career, he was going to have an opportunity to play on the club level's biggest stage. Well, at least that's what he thought before Chelsea took England's fourth and final Champions League spot by winning in 2011-12.

You couldn't help but feel bad for Friedel then. And you can't help but feel sorry for the 41-year-old now.

Friedel's career is winding down and there's nothing wrong with Tottenham coach Andre Villas-Boas' decision to start planning for the future by bringing in younger goalkeepers to compete for the starting spot. But it just so turned out that Villas-Boas brought in a keeper who is expected by many to start right now by signing France international Hugo Lloris for 10 million euros.

Friedel has won the No. 1 spot and has started all four of Tottenham's Premier League games this season, but he has been in the spotlight ever since Lloris was signed on deadline day. It's been nothing but drama for Friedel, who is hoping to add to his current streak of 308 consecutive Premier League appearances. While he says he appreciates the "healthy competition," the pressure is on.

Friedel had reached the legal driving age before Lloris, 25, was born. The former MLS player was playing in England when Lloris was 10. Quite frankly, Friedel is old and Lloris is in his prime.

Lloris seems to have locked down playing time this year as he will likely play in most, if not all, cup games. Villas-Boas rested Friedel for Thursday's Europa League matchup against Lazio, and Lloris impressed by keeping a clean sheet in the scoreless draw.

"Hopefully we will have long runs in all the cup competitions so there's going to be plenty of matches to share around," Friedel told the British press earlier this week. But what if they don't?

Follow MIKE SLANE on Twitter

Friedel has made it clear that he expects to be Villas-Boas' top-choice keeper for the entire season and then he will evaluate his options next summer. If he doesn't find a place in the Premier League, the former U.S. international will likely retire instead of joining a lower league. A return to Major League Soccer - also known as the world's retirement league - is not an option.

Lloris is expecting to start sooner than later and while he's been a good sport by displaying a positive attitude, the Frenchman will begin to grow frustrated by lack of playing time. "I am in an adaptation period," he told L'Equipe after Friedel was named the starter. "I've had very few training sessions, and there are players that I didn't know. But I am expecting time on the pitch."

On Friday, French publication Le Parisien ran quotes from former Manchester United goalkeeper Fabian Barthez bashing Friedel's ability at this stage of his career and questioning Villas-Boas' decision to not start Lloris this season.

"Lloris is one of the five best goalkeepers in the world," Barthez told Le Parisien. "He is faster than Friedel, he jumps higher and he is very strong mentally.

"What is happening now is incomprehensible, but I'm not concerned. He will become the centerpiece of the club. Hugo is a calm guy, a good worker. Tottenham will not let him stay on the bench for a long time."

Just as he did after watching his Champions League dreams disappear on llive TV, Friedel responded publicly to Barthez's comments.

"Just saw barthez comments," he wrote on Twitter. "I normally don't comment on such crap but when disrespected by someone I don't respect I must.

"Barthez was ignorant, disrespectful and out of order to mention my name."

Friedel is getting more attention than he deserves. He's been a quality player for almost two decades and you can't help but feel sorry for the veteran as his career comes to a close in way he probably didn't imagine.

Follow MIKE SLANE on Twitter


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • FordPH Launches the All-New Mustang
    FordPH Launches the All-New Mustang

    Ford Philippines launched the all-new Mustang in a rock concert held at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, last week .  The All-New Mustang is the sixth generation since Ford  launched the first model in April 17, 1964. “The all-new Mustang represents the very best of Ford and its arrival marks the latest chapter of the iconic muscle car’s rich legacy, crafted with a more contemporary look and feel.  With a history spanning more than 50 years, this iconic car is at the heart and soul of Ford and …

  • China maritime tensions dominate Southeast Asia summit
    China maritime tensions dominate Southeast Asia summit

    By Manuel Mogato and Praveen Menon KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Southeast Asian leaders edged closer to open criticism of China's land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea at a regional summit on Monday, as the Philippines drew the ire of Beijing which called its objections to the work "unreasonable". The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Kuala Lumpur, which was supposed to showcase the 10-member bloc's progress towards economic integration, was overshadowed by the …

  • Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia
    Halt Indonesia drug executions until graft claims probed: Australia

    Australia urged Indonesia Monday to wait before executing two men on drugs offences until a corruption investigation into the judges that sentenced them was completed. "Bali Nine" drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan could face the firing squad within days, along with others from Brazil, Nigeria, the Philippines and an Indonesian prisoner. "I should point out that Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran's lawyers are pursuing action before the Constitutional Court in Indonesia," Bishop told ABC …

  • The ‘All You Need’ 2015 Isuzu D-MAX launched
    The ‘All You Need’ 2015 Isuzu D-MAX launched

    Isuzu Philippines Corporation (IPC) just recently introduced the 2015 Isuzu D-MAX pick-up truck at the Clark International Raceway to show that their pick-up model can conquer any kind of terrain.The high-end LS variant and standard LT 4x4 is now equipped with a more powerful engine, the 4JK1-TC (Hi) 2.5-liter engine which with Common Rail Direct Injection and an intercooled Variable Geometry System (VGS) turbocharger. IPC also introduced a new standard ride variant, the LT-X 4x2 manual …

  • Limited Edition Honda CR-V and Jazz now available
    Limited Edition Honda CR-V and Jazz now available

    If you’ve always wanted to be part of an exclusive group of car owners, now might be the time for you to consider getting a Honda CR-V or Jazz.  Honda Cars Philippines Inc. (HCPI) just came out with their limited edition All New Jazz and New CR-V. …

  • ToyotaPH hit its highest monthly sales last March
    ToyotaPH hit its highest monthly sales last March

    Toyota Motors Philippines hit its highest monthly sales to date last March, registering 10,237 units sold.  This recent CAMPI report puts Toyota’s market share at 43.5% last month. …

  • VolkswagenPH launches Child Safety Initiative
    VolkswagenPH launches Child Safety Initiative

    Volkswagen Philippines just  launched the VW Child Safety Initiative (CSI) campaign which aims to support child safety on Philippine roads at the just concluded Manila International Auto Show (MIAS). The World Health Organization’s road safety facts show about 1.24 million die each year globally as a result of vehicle related accidents. Child restraint systems like child seats and booster seats also reduce risk for children by about 70% for infants and upto 80% for small children. This …

  • Pacquiao pleads for Indonesia to spare death row Filipina
    Pacquiao pleads for Indonesia to spare death row Filipina

    World boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao took time out Monday from final preparations for his $400 million megafight with Floyd Mayweather to plead for the life of a Filipina on death row in Indonesia. Pacquiao, a national hero in the Philippines, added his voice to a chorus of global opposition led by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the executions of a group of eight foreign drug convicts, including compatriot Mary Jane Veloso. The eight-division world champion, who will face …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options