Manchester United’s top goal scorer from last season, with twenty two goals, hasn’t been getting a fair crack of the whip this season and some fans may be wondering what’s next for our technically gifted number nine, Dimitar Berbatov.
Anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence when it comes to football wouldn’t dare to doubt Dimitar Berbatov’s ability on the pitch. Sometimes he gets slated for being a ‘lazy footballer,’ but with his attributes not much can be done about that. In a way he reminds me of a well respected individual named Zlatan Ibrahimović, due to his presence, on and off the ball. The 30-year-old has the greatest first touch (velcro boots) I have ever seen on a pitch and his composure is second to none.
Portfolio since joining United
Berbatov signed from Tottenham Hotspur in 2008 for a club record £30.75 million, keeping him at Old Trafford for four years. It was the last day of the transfer window and the saga brought great entertainment as the Bulgarian travelled up north from London. The rumour mill starting doing rounds when speculation started with sources saying Spurs also accepted a bid from Manchester City, giving the player a decision to make. Ferguson arrived at the airport in his Bentley and brought him to where he belonged in time to sign, right on the deadline. And yes, that’s where the chant came from: “Dimitar! Berbatov! Took one look at City and said ‘f*ck off!'”
Dimitar’s first two season’s at United didn’t go too well, though. In his first season he scored 14 goals, averaging 0.31 whenever played, and in his second season he played 43 games scoring just 12 goals with an average of 0.28 per game. This, of course, had a majority of fans itching themselves. Some even went as far as nicknaming him “Berbaflop.”
However, the following season was certainly a highlight for the big man. When Wayne Rooney came back from a poor World Cup in South Africa, all the British newspapers were full of stories surrounding his latest scandal. A few months later, Rooney told Sir Alex Ferguson that he no longer wanted to be at the club because it lacked ambition. It was clear then, that his head was all over the place, so we needed someone to score those crucial goals like Rooney did in the 2009/10 season. Berbatov, surprisingly, arose to the occasion and helped United become the most successful club in England, knocking Liverpool off their perch. When it comes to the impact Berbatov made last season, the hat-trick against Liverpool will definitely top the list for the supporters. However, in an interview with Paddy Crerand on MUTV, Berbatov dismissed that game being his main highlight of the season and said the celebrations in May outdone it – proving there’s no letter ‘i’ in the word ‘team’.
Despite his contribution in 2010/11, Berbatov was left out of the Champions League final squad with Javier Hernandez starting alongside Wayne Rooney up front, and Michael Owen getting a place on the bench. This was obviously the biggest blow in his footballing career after doing so much for the club in that season, but he stayed classy and told fans afterwards he was still ‘pledging his future to the club’. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have blamed him if he came out with an outburst. Berbatov watched the final from the dressing room in tears – words cannot describe how he must have felt.
This season Berbatov has made just six starts in all competitions with the same amount of substitute appearances. That stat says something, doesn’t it? I don’t believe it’s his fault either. We’ve got the best striker in England, a poacher who can score with any part of his body, and Welbeck who seems to score whenever played. It’s not the easiest time to be at Old Trafford, fighting for a place, if you’re a striker so I believe Berbatov’s time is running out especially with him turning 31-years-old next month. It would be a different story if he was a midfielder…
What’s for the best?
A player of his ability shouldn’t be sitting on the bench every week when there’s a number of decent clubs in Europe looking for his signature. As much as it would hurt me to see him leave, I believe it’s for the best. Although, he only has a few months remaining on his contract and it’s unlikely that we’ll make back half the money we spent on him, so I hope fans get to see more of him before that day comes.