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Wednesday Kickoff: Frei out up to 6 months, Ibrahimovic livid at refs & more

Frei (Reuters Pictures)

The road to recovery just got increasingly longer for Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Toronto FC announced that Frei will be out 4-to-6 months after undergoing surgery for torn ligaments in his left ankle. The club originally had said that Frei would miss 10 weeks with a broken left fibula, which he suffered during a non-contact play in training.

The injury has turned out to be much more serious, with Frei tearing the ligaments in addition to breaking his leg, and as a result, the rest of his season is in jeopardy. Milos Kocic will be the club's starter for the long haul with Frei on the shelf.

Presently, former UCLA and current league pool goalkeeper Brian Rowe is the only backup at TFC's disposal, and the club figures to hit the market prior to the April 15 closing of the transfer window in order to sign sufficient cover for Kocic.  

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:


AC Milan was ousted from the UEFA Champions League in Barcelona on Tuesday, falling 3-1. The Serie A leaders momentarily had an advantage after Zlatan Ibrahimovic played Antonio Nocerino in on goal, but that edge was short-lived when the hosts drew their second penalty of the first half — one that Lionel Messi converted and one that has Ibrahmovic fuming.

"I'm just disgusted," Ibrahmovic told reporters. "They are the best team in the world, but at 1-1 and, playing with intelligence, you can do something. [But] I understand better why Mourinho gets upset every time he plays here – in my opinion it was not fair."

The second penalty came after Alessandro Nesta was whistled for pulling Sergio Busquets' shirt in the lead-up to a corner kick.

"The ball wasn't in play and he called it," Ibrahimovic said. "It was weird, odd, it ruined the game. I still don't understand what he whistled. If he calls those he should call the others. Without him the game would have been 50-50."


Bayern Munich has locked up one of their most dynamic assets for the foreseeable future, extending the contract of striker Mario Gomez through the 2015-2016 season.

The word comes on the heels of the club being on the verge of extending Arjen Robben, as Bayern Munich looks to maintain its foundation going forward. After getting past Marseille in the Champions League quarterfinals, Bayern is facing a likely semifinal date with Real Madrid as the final hurdle to reaching the final, which will be played at their own Allianz Arena.

As for Gomez, a 26-year-old German international, he has scored 37 goals in all competitions this season. His 11 goals in Champions League play are second only to Messi, as he enjoys perhaps his finest season since joining Bayern from Stuttgart in 2009. His current contract was set to expire at the end of next season.


Jose Maria Zarraga, a former Real Madrid captain and standout who helped lead the club to five straight European Cups, passed away Tuesday. He was 81.

Zarraga, a midfielder, played for Madrid from 1949-1962 and scored 96 goals in 306 games during his career, which also included six Spanish league titles.

The club will honor Zarraga's memory with a moment of silence prior to Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal second leg against APOEL Nicosia. Madrid players will also wear black armbands in his honor.


Do you think TFC is settled in goal even without Frei? Does Ibrahimovic have a point? Where do you rate Gomez among the top strikers in Europe?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The ball wasn’t in play as in it wasn’t near Brusquets. Similar to how if you are in ab offsides position but you are not in play offsides is not given.

  2. barca deserved to win if going by stats alone. and even without the crap 2nd PK call, it’s still 2-1 at the whistle. Puyol should have been called for a foul before anything about a shirt grab. and sergio should be suspended for being a diving punk. how many times will he get away with simulation? he’s a vag.

  3. Should’ve called the foul on Puyol. The ref was clearly looking to give a penalty in that situation and lost his objectivity

  4. “The ball wasn’t in play and he called it,” Ibrahimovic said.

    This is false. Nesta holds his shirt and arm preventing the player from heading the ball. More refs need to call these fouls, not less as Ibra and Jose would like. I do not watch the NBA for that exact reason, where infractions are so many that officials call them randomly at their pleasure.

  5. Really dude. You are claiming that an Italian Football Club or those involved in Italian football are above what some may consider questionable tactics to gain an unfair advantage.

  6. Becks, you right that San Siro pitch is historically bad. But Italian winters are not the main culprit- AC Milan ruined the pitch quite a while ago when Berlusconi had gigantic cranes set up at the pitch to add an extra level to the stands. However, I have to say that in the game against Barca the pitch was much worse than usual. Both teams played on the same terrible pitch, but Barca was at a disadvatage, because its game is based on precise and quick passing. It was not just a matter of slipping and sliding, but the passing on the ground was affected as well. As for the home cooking by the ground crews, I wouldn’t be surprized if it indeed occurred. I recall that after the 5-0 loss to Barca, Real Madrid did not cut grass for several weeks before the next El Classico to slow down Barca’s passing game. Teams try to get any advantage they can. In Barcelona, for example, the pitch was impeccable and watered lightly before the game to make the ball move faster, which benefits the home team. The difference is that the quality of the pitch at San Siro almost made the game unwatchable.

  7. Ground crews have been involved in tailoring fields for the home teams advantage in various ways in many sports for years – I don’t see what’s offensive about that statement.

  8. Maybe if Ibra’s defensive contributions would match his press conference contribution then Milan could have had a bit more of the ball. I am not sure how Milan expected to win the ball back with both Ibra and Robinho watching the other 9 guys play against 11 Barca players. Contrast Ibra’s lack of defense to the high pressure that Messi contributes and you can see why Barca always seems to have the ball. Barca has strict strategy based rules about pressuring higher up on the pitch and when to pressure after losing the ball. Last night Ibra didn’t even bother to look at the defensive players of Barca much less try to pressure them. Just another reason he did not fit at Barca. His style does not match their game winning..i.e. dominating tactics. And lets not mention how many times he lost the ball himself.

  9. Yeah got a little carried away with the moron comment, but it’s offensive to claim a grounds crew is trying to create an unfair advantage, which they most certainly are not. It has more to do with players’ footing than the flight of the ball, and creating a slick surface with unsure footing benefits neither team. Even the Italian National team complained about the pitch at the San Siro. A did Arsenal. It is notoriously bad, and needs to be addressed, but it has nothing to do with Barca or their playing style.

  10. I tuned in for the second half and Barca proved they were the better side. With the two goal lead they didn’t have the same urgency in front of goal and therefore missed some open looks. Milan was struggling to get the ball back and resorted to hacking. All the second half yellows were well deserved.

    For Ibrahimovich to suggest that Milan would have stayed tied when it was 1-1 were it not for a penalty awarded is just plain dumb.

  11. Interesting that you’ve called someone a “moron” when it seems that you haven’t thought this through.

    Yes, of course the home team has to play on the same field, but it’s all about style of play. Milan obviously felt that they were better with the ball in the air than Barca, and they wanted to keep Barca from playing their quick short passes.

    And it was also clear that they were content with no one scoring at the San Siro, so they didn’t need to be too concerned with how playable the field was.

  12. i hate diving as much as anyone else, but you have to look at it on the grander scale. throughout the history of the sport, there come teams that are just so dominant that most opponents resort to anti-football and hack at their feet and other types of cheating, so naturally, teams like barca respond by cheating in their own way, diving.

    i hate it too, but it just happens. one team cheats because they can’t compete at the same level, so the other responds by play acting. it’s the scourge of the game, and hopefully replay technology can help with it one day

  13. “..the San Siro where your grounds crew intentionally water logs the pitch so your opponent can’t make quick movements” This might be the dumbest thing I’ve heard since your second comment “Busquets …was pulled to the ground.” You can’t possibly believe a grounds crew would intentionally be trying to limit quick movements. Don’t you think that would hamper the home team as well? Unless you’re trying to imply that Milan is not “quick”. Moron. The field at the San Siro has been historically crappy at this time of year due to the northern Italian winters and overuse.

    As far as Busquets being “pulled” down, well, we all know how easily Busquets goes to ground. How about Puyol’s blatant body check to Nesta on the very same play? He wasn’t even looking at the ball, his back was to it as he stepped deliberately into Nesta.

  14. Thank you.

    Everytime I read his name it’s either him complaining about something, him punching someone (teammate (gooch?) or opponent) or him doing something monumentally stupid.

  15. Lol tell us how you really feel man. But yeah, I agree. Milan was dominated the entire match with Messi uncharacteristically missing two sitters in the first few minutes. Milan outright attacked and only managed 3 shots total. Acting like it was an affront to them, as if no foul was committed and the official just gave Barcelona a goal.

    Playing with people like him is never fun, they dont think they do wrong. The guy is a whining punk who puts forth so little effort for his abilities.

  16. Also, maybe try and help your team by being onside once in a blue moon and giving some effort. It’s just like him to whine about some conspiracy against him. It was the same thing when Barcelona kicked him to the curb.

    Or when he broke curfew with the Swedish national team and was sent home from the team before a match. Only to throw a fit screaming conspiracy and gave himself a self imposed boycott of the team’s next match, which he kept himself out of.

    Ibrahamivoc is Swedish for ‘offside child.’

  17. “[But] I understand better why Mourinho gets upset every time he plays here – in my opinion it was not fair.”

    Yeah, Ibra, it’s so much more fair than having to play at the San Siro (Arsenal and Barcelona) where your grounds crew intentionally water logs the pitch so your opponent can’t make quick movements. After two consecutive teams file formal complaints, you’re going to complain about a home field advantage?

    Didn’t see you complaining when your keeper bulldozed through Alexis Sanchez who was rounding him to score and nothing was called.

    Also, where is this nonsense about the call being made while the ball wasn’t in play? The jersey grab started before the ball was in play, and the foul was called when Busquets attempted to make a run on goal as the ball was in the air and he was pulled to the ground.

    That needs to be called more than it is. Along with yellow cards for tactical fouls.


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