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Name Dimitar Berbatov
Gender Male
Ethnic Bulgarian
Job Bulgarian Footballer
Desc A player whose brilliance was defined by an artisanal elegance and the complete elimination of any superfluous movement. Struggled in his first few games for Tottenham before finding his rhythm, eventually moving to Manchester United for a club-record fee. Won two league titles before departing for Fulham. Arguably the most misunderstood player in Premier League history, and among the more underrate

Affiliation

Org Bulgaria National Team
Club as Player Kerala Blasters
  Fulham FC
  Manchester United
  Tottenham Hotspur

2016 01 30 Retrieve

[PAOK forward Dimitar Berbatov with himself after receiving a straight red card in a Greek League match]

(Journalist Dimitar Berbatov): And you are disappointed because of this?

(Dimitar Berbatov): Yes. When I don’t play, I can’t be happy. The problem is that, in this case I took it out on the colleague from the other team. And I am not one of this players looking for a conflict, this is a well-known fact, but in this case the opposite happened, for which I am sorry

2016 11 05 Retrieve

[Dimitar Berbatov hints at a return to the Premier League] When you’ve played in the Premier League you don’t want to play anywhere else. In this stage of my career I know where I am – I would happily play for a team where they use my experience and my knowledge. I can help young players develop and make the team stronger. In the end it’s all about helping the team play

2017 01 14 Retrieve

[Dimitar Berbatov describes his partnership with Robbie Keane] He was a great guy, running like crazy and we complemented each other because he was running everywhere and I was running in my head and we gelled together

2017 10 28 Retrieve

[Dimitar Berbatov speaks about his time with Spurs and his lack of desire for the spotlight] Spurs fans liked me. When I heard them singing my name I thought: ‘What the f—? Why are they singing for me?’ I didn’t like that attention. Some players do, but I was embarrassed and thinking: ‘Please, please shut up’

2017 12 23 Retrieve

[Kerala Blasters forward Dimitar Berbatov talks football in India] This is my role here. To teach the young players who have a good potential to grow. The only thing they need is someone to guide them in the right direction. One thing is to play in your country but if you go outside you get out of your comfort zone. Hopefully one day, young Indian players here can go to Europe. If you want to test yourself, you want to play against the best. It is the fourth year for this league now. It is so early, you can only grow from here. It is going to be a long road. As long as you try to do the right thing, everything will be fine. It will be good to see someone from India play in a big club in Europe

2018 08 23 Retrieve

[Berbatov channels his inner Cantona with criticism of Mourinho ‘seagulls’ at Man Utd. The former United striker told Betfair in the wake of a 3-2 reversal at Brighton] United’s season will not be defined by one defeat in mid-August. Come on, it’s the second game of the season! Every team can lose at any time and every team will lose again this season. The point is to take the lessons from the loss and not repeat those mistakes. It’s as simple as that. Manchester United have unbelievable players in their squad and they can absolutely put this right. Sometimes against the underdog you can lose because they want it more. It happens to every team. I do wonder if all this negativity is necessary but obviously football is a business, and a little bit of politics. You have people causing trouble, spreading ‘fake news’, rumours and it all gets repeated and becomes truth. But this is kids’ stuff and it doesn’t help anyone

2018 07 25 Retrieve

[When Berbatov flew into Manchester to speak to City officials, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was at the airport to pick him up, much to the player’s surprise. United then got their man for a price lower than City had offered] I am flattered that he [Ferguson] gave me so much of his time. He personally came to pick me up at the airport. It was a shock to me, but it was a pleasure to get to know him

2019 10 12 Retrieve

[Dimitar Berbatov gives his thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi] Ronaldo versus Messi, how can you separate them? I think they should get their awards and give it to both of them. All the time. You can’t say this one is better than the other

2020 03 06 Retrieve

[Berbatov sees new boy proving people wrong] I’m really happy to see that Odion Ighalo is settling in well and he deserves it with the way he is playing, how he links the plays and the goals he is scoring.

All the team are happy when he scores which shows he is fully integrated, and I like the way he looks for the ball and bullies the defenders.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know too much about him before he joined, obviously I knew about his record in the Premier League, but I questioned if he was the right man and if he would get into the team, but so far he is doing well and proving me wrong.

When you need to play more direct in a game you need a presence in the box, a guy who knows how to get onto the end of a ball, bully the defenders and win the ball. Ighalo can do that, but he can also play, is technically good as well, he can keep the ball and give it to his team-mates and get into the box, that’s why I like him. He doesn’t just stay in the box and try to head the ball. He is linking really well with others and that shows in the team performances when he is involved

Bruno Fernandes is scoring and is full of confidence, he gives the team that extra creativity and hopefully his first derby will be a win, and why not. When you come into a new country and a new team you already know who your big rivals are going to be and now in the lead up to Sunday he is going to know what this game is all about. These days, even if you don’t watch football you know who Man City are and who plays for them. Fernandes will have done his homework and he will be prepared. These two teams know each other so well, some of them probably go for dinner together, you have these things, but when you step onto the pitch it’s about my team not yours

2020 04 11 Retrieve

[Dimitar Berbatov reveals who his favourite strike partner was during his career with Goal] At Leverkusen, I had a great partnership with a guy called França. We scored so many goals. We destroyed Bayern Munich 4-1 one season. We both got two goals each. He didn’t speak English or German so outside the pitch we didn’t say a word. Literally nothing. Honestly, nothing. I saw how he trained and played on the pitch and the other way around. When we stepped on the pitch, man, it was like we were sleeping together!

2020 04 27 Retrieve

[Berbatov admits being initially underwhelmed by Tottenham interest] I was like, ‘wait a minute, Spurs want me? What? Not Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United?’ I was thinking all these stupid questions because I was thinking I was doing so well that a big team must come after me.

When you’re young, you think you know everything. You think you have all the answers to all the questions, but you have nothing. Again, my intuition will start working the same, ‘Berbs now is the right time, difficult but we need to challenge ourselves’. In the end, their persistence was a big factor for me, and of course, meeting Martin Jol was the moment I knew I had to go there

[Remembering his first meeting with Jol] He’s sitting in the chair like the Godfather! He was like ‘Berba, welcome my boy!’ I was telling myself, ‘this is the right place’ purely because sometimes you just feel the connection with someone, I don’t know how to explain it.

Secondly, because Martin looked like my late granddad, who I loved to death. I was thinking to myself ‘I think we are going to have something here.’

2020 05 12 Retrieve

[Jadon Sancho should remain with Borussia Dortmund for one more year, according to Dimitar Berbatov, who does not think now is the right time for him to go to Manchester United] Sancho moved to Germany at a very young age and it looks to be paying off massively in the way that he is developing. That was maybe the best decision he has made so far, to go there and play because I think he, his agent and family knew he was good enough to play, so when someone isn’t giving you a chance at one place of course you go and find somewhere to play and it was a great decision on his part, he is developing and now big teams are coming after him. I don’t know if now is the right time for him to go to Manchester United, I have mentioned it before, I have my doubts here because at United there’s Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James

It’s good to have competition for the team but I would imagine if he moves to a new place he would want to play every game, but rotation is a common thing now in football. From that point of view, you can’t guarantee a player will play, but I think we need to go with that assumption, big money and he would like to play. For me, he is going to choose the team that he knows he is going to play. Not to move and do nothing because that is going to stop his development. That’s why I think it may be better for him to stay at Dortmund for one more year, why not?

2020 05 12b Retrieve

[Berbatov added on his own experience in the Bundesliga helped him to learn how important playing week in, week out can be for morale] When I was a young player in Germany, at the same age as Sancho, my mind was only on me developing. I wasn’t thinking about transfers, I was happy at [Bayer] Leverkusen, I was playing every game and if you really love football that is what you want to do. Sancho has been there since 2017 and it’s crucial to know when is the right time to stay or go because this can sometimes can make or break a career

2020 05 16 Retrieve

[Dimitar Berbatov jokes about the rare time he had to fill in as a defender] I was like Baresi, Maldini and Beckenbauer in one!

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[Berbatov unable to pick between Spurs and Man Utd as Premier League returns] Health comes first and we all understand, but you hope things come back to normal as soon as possible. We see now, slowly but surely, the Bundesliga was first, now the Premier League is coming back, I’m excited, especially that first game – Spurs vs United. The bad thing is there are no fans, but safety first. Harry Kane is back, Son [Heung-Mn] is back, Spurs are getting back their firepower, [Paul] Pogba is back for United which I think is a great, great bonus for the team. People ask me who I support in this game, and I am always ‘you have two kids, who do you love most!

I support both teams, the only thing I would like to see is good football, but as you mentioned, as we all know, the break was too big. So I’m curious as to how they handle the first game, especially for United, if they win and Chelsea lose, they’re even points for the Champions League. For Spurs it’s a bit difficult because they are seven points behind top four so if they take a win, it’s a great bonus for them. So that first game is so important for both teams. Hopefully we can watch good football

[Berbatov officially hung up his boots in 2019 at the age of 38 after distinguished career at both club and international level, but the eccentric ex-forward asserts that he knows exactly how he would have spent lockdown] Kicking a ball against the wall and stopping it. That’s the perfect exercise. You can improvise and improve. Even in tight spaces, if you have a small ball, a tennis ball, try to keep it in the air, to train that reflex, that habit of keeping the ball close to your feet. This kind of improvisation can add to your game – especially if you don’t have the best first touch

2020 06 27 Retrieve

[Manchester United cannot allow Liverpool to equal their league title record and dominate again] When I was a player at Old Trafford, we thought United’s success would go on forever, Liverpool are now dangerously close to United’s record, and I’m sure they’d love to equal that. I’m not at United anymore, I can’t stop it from happening, but I hope the current players will see Liverpool getting closer and try to make sure it never happens. They suffered and waited for so long, the way they play now that the way they won it will give them more ambition to win more. Klopp can make them title contenders for years to come. The United lads shouldn’t need a message from anyone to tell them, they can’t let them equal the record and dominate again, if they do then we have a problem. They will have seen Liverpool, they will know they are close to the record and they must do everything to stop this happening. You want to be on top yourself and not let anyone take over, so they need to up their intensity. The United players cannot let Liverpool knock them off the perch that we fought so hard to take as our own