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What to do with Dimitar Berbatov?

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.

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12 responses to “What to do with Dimitar Berbatov?”

  1. southstandboy says:

    laziest player, absolute disgrace, great skill and touch but no movement or desire to get the ball… difficult to play around, slows the game down, decisions take to long to when to release the ball, always blames everyone else for his mistakes, always in a mood, frustrating, sell him quickly… people like owen could have chances to show what they can do… buth berba gets chosen, poor mo doesnt get a look in, where his movement like hernandez, and finishing, is what we need… SELL HIM JANUARY

  2. southstandboy says:

    laziest player, absolute disgrace, great skill and touch but no movement or desire to get the ball… difficult to play around, slows the game down, decisions take to long to when to release the ball, always blames everyone else for his mistakes, always in a mood, frustrating, sell him quickly… people like owen could have chances to show what they can do… buth berba gets chosen, poor mo doesnt get a look in, where his movement like hernandez, and finishing, is what we need… SELL HIM JANUARY

  3. jjjjjjjjjj says:

    @southstandboy: Your view is an absolute disgrace, laziest player around, not in the slightest. In the past few years he has worked very hard on his fitness, I remember reading in the lead up to last season, he would run 10 km. a day to maintain and better improve his match fitness. He followed that up by scoring 22 goals last season, and continually creates the most assists in the league for a front man. Now if you actually take note of his total yardage covered in any given game, it demonstrates just how workmanlike he has become, he tracks back and allows others to get involved in the play.

    KEEP HIM IN JANUARY, if he is happy with his role why sell him. If Rooney did get injured, we would have owen, welbeck, and hernandez (assuming macheda goes out on loan) all traditional poachers, who want to play off the shoulder of the last defender, not players who want to help create chances for others (which berbatov does in abundance, as outlined above). I do though agree that is is a shame to have such a technically gifted player warming the bench, if he is to leave he should in July when his contract runs out, and we could sign a suitable replacement, as any good striker would surely be cup tied anyway.

  4. jjjjjjjjjj says:

    @southstandboy: Your view is an absolute disgrace, laziest player around, not in the slightest. In the past few years he has worked very hard on his fitness, I remember reading in the lead up to last season, he would run 10 km. a day to maintain and better improve his match fitness. He followed that up by scoring 22 goals last season, and continually creates the most assists in the league for a front man. Now if you actually take note of his total yardage covered in any given game, it demonstrates just how workmanlike he has become, he tracks back and allows others to get involved in the play.

    KEEP HIM IN JANUARY, if he is happy with his role why sell him. If Rooney did get injured, we would have owen, welbeck, and hernandez (assuming macheda goes out on loan) all traditional poachers, who want to play off the shoulder of the last defender, not players who want to help create chances for others (which berbatov does in abundance, as outlined above). I do though agree that is is a shame to have such a technically gifted player warming the bench, if he is to leave he should in July when his contract runs out, and we could sign a suitable replacement, as any good striker would surely be cup tied anyway.

  5. Elhair says:

    Have to agree Berba is one of the most technically gifted footballers at the club. However he doesn’t fit our style of footbal. With Roo, Pea, Nani and Young we are all about pace and quick movement. Berba slows the game down too much and often isn’t on the same wave length as other members of the team. This shows in his game as he often gets frustrated and people see this and think he is lazy. I think we should have made use of his season last year and sold him in the summer along with Michael Owen. We could have brought in a striker (Van Wolf Winkle) and promote a kid. At present though we can’t afford to get rid as if Roo gets injured we don’t have a striker to link the midfield to the forwards unless Morrison plays. We do need a good clear out in the summer and look at bringing youth through as well as brining in 2-3 players as we are being set a new challenge by the Arabs from across the city.

  6. Elhair says:

    Have to agree Berba is one of the most technically gifted footballers at the club. However he doesn’t fit our style of footbal. With Roo, Pea, Nani and Young we are all about pace and quick movement. Berba slows the game down too much and often isn’t on the same wave length as other members of the team. This shows in his game as he often gets frustrated and people see this and think he is lazy. I think we should have made use of his season last year and sold him in the summer along with Michael Owen. We could have brought in a striker (Van Wolf Winkle) and promote a kid. At present though we can’t afford to get rid as if Roo gets injured we don’t have a striker to link the midfield to the forwards unless Morrison plays. We do need a good clear out in the summer and look at bringing youth through as well as brining in 2-3 players as we are being set a new challenge by the Arabs from across the city.

  7. Robbie says:

    his amazing on the ball, hope he stays.

  8. Robbie says:

    his amazing on the ball, hope he stays.

  9. Drew says:

    While I don’t deny that Berbs is talented, I find the vociferous support for him very strange. Surely you can all understand where this perception of him being lazy comes from? His attitude on the pitch is undoubtedly quite poor sometimes. Continual flouncing, looking to the skies in disbelief and gesturing his displeasure at team mates demonstrably, don’t make him look like a player who cares. This is not to say he doesn’t care, it just doesn’t come across well. And, unfortunately for him, I feel his style of play has never really been suited to United. He takes far too many touches on the ball and doesn’t move it quick enough. United’s style is quick, slick attacking football, not the slow keep ball we saw against Palace the other night. I’m not laying the blame for that at Berbatov’s feet, but he doesn’t help. Not only this, but he continually comes deep for the ball and in doing this, allows opposing teams to move their defence a further 20 yards up field and squeeze the space for the rest of the team. It happened against Man City in the Cup semi final last year, quite visibly so. United played very well and Berbatov actually could have scored in the 1st 20 mins. Then you actually saw Mancini on the touchline urging his players to step up the field as Berbatov was playing on his own up front. They did, and City dominated the rest of the game. Berbs is unfortunately no threat in behind and if he is playing as our main striker, this fact combined with his desire to play deeper means defenders have the freedom to push right up against us. I believe it is for this reason that he wasn’t selected for the Champs League final squad-Barca play with such a high line it would negate any threat for Berbatov. While he has provided me with some wonderful memories (last goal against Liverpool one of the best I’ve ever seen), his time has come. The investment really needs to start coming in other areas, namely centre midfield.

  10. Drew says:

    While I don’t deny that Berbs is talented, I find the vociferous support for him very strange. Surely you can all understand where this perception of him being lazy comes from? His attitude on the pitch is undoubtedly quite poor sometimes. Continual flouncing, looking to the skies in disbelief and gesturing his displeasure at team mates demonstrably, don’t make him look like a player who cares. This is not to say he doesn’t care, it just doesn’t come across well. And, unfortunately for him, I feel his style of play has never really been suited to United. He takes far too many touches on the ball and doesn’t move it quick enough. United’s style is quick, slick attacking football, not the slow keep ball we saw against Palace the other night. I’m not laying the blame for that at Berbatov’s feet, but he doesn’t help. Not only this, but he continually comes deep for the ball and in doing this, allows opposing teams to move their defence a further 20 yards up field and squeeze the space for the rest of the team. It happened against Man City in the Cup semi final last year, quite visibly so. United played very well and Berbatov actually could have scored in the 1st 20 mins. Then you actually saw Mancini on the touchline urging his players to step up the field as Berbatov was playing on his own up front. They did, and City dominated the rest of the game. Berbs is unfortunately no threat in behind and if he is playing as our main striker, this fact combined with his desire to play deeper means defenders have the freedom to push right up against us. I believe it is for this reason that he wasn’t selected for the Champs League final squad-Barca play with such a high line it would negate any threat for Berbatov. While he has provided me with some wonderful memories (last goal against Liverpool one of the best I’ve ever seen), his time has come. The investment really needs to start coming in other areas, namely centre midfield.

  11. vicky says:

    great read, i feel that he certainly showed his worth last season but its time for us to allow him to move on and enjoy his football weekly rather than pushing for a place with younger players. i hope if he goes he player and hope we get to see him at OT before he goes.

  12. vicky says:

    great read, i feel that he certainly showed his worth last season but its time for us to allow him to move on and enjoy his football weekly rather than pushing for a place with younger players. i hope if he goes he player and hope we get to see him at OT before he goes.