Berbatov heading for the Old Trafford exit

Guest blogger, Gary Cox takes a look at Dimitar Berbatov’s time at Manchester United and his expected departure from Old Trafford this summer.

So that’s it then, Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken and has confirmed that Dimitar Berbatov will indeed be leaving the club at the end of the season. Berbatov has told Ferguson that he wishes to have more first team football, and Ferguson, not being able to guarantee that, has told Berbatov it may be better looking elsewhere.

Berbatov arrived at the Manchester club on deadline day in 2008 for a club record fee of £31,000,000. That is a massive price to pay, but United had long wanted to sign Berbatov, and were willing to pay whatever it took to get their man. The deal was a long drawn out saga going well into the night and was only confirmed that next morning to have gone through fully, staff and fans alike could now look forward to the Bulgarian in a United shirt.

He made his debut away at Liverpool, despite providing an assist for Carlos Tevez, he could not prevent the team going on to lose the game 2-1. His first goals for the club came away from home in the Champions League against Aalborg, scoring twice. In his first season Manchester United won the Premier League title, in the process, he became the first Bulgarian to ever win the Premier League.

Since then, Berbatov’s time at United has been littered both with majestic quality and also frustration; many fans call him ‘lazy’ and constantly argue that he is not good enough for the Red Devils. Some even question him stating that he never looks happy, a fantastic response to a journalist once upon a time was to reply ‘What am I supposed to do, walk around with a grin on my face all the time like an idiot?’ Genius. Others call him a fantastic quality who deserves his chance and Fergie’s loyalty to prove he can still deliver.

So let’s explore these two stark comparisons. To the people that call him ‘lazy’ firstly, have you ever seen him play a full 90 minutes? Or are you simply conforming to what you have heard from other people? Berbatov’s style of play is not that of someone such as Cristiano Ronaldo, he is not the type of player to run around the pitch at high speed taking on opponents at pace. Berbatov is what I would call a ‘classy’ player, he quietly goes about his work, displaying tremendous skill and a first touch to rival anybody in world football. Berbatov has scored 48 goals in 82 league starts for Manchester United, so is he really that bad? 20 of those goals came last season when he shared the Golden Boot with Carlos Tevez at Manchester City, equal in the goals department maybe, but not in professionalism, and let me explain.

In my opinion, Dimitar Berbatov has been treated badly by United and deserves much more in terms of first team opportunities than what he is currently getting. So isn’t it credible to applaud Berbatov for not publically coming out and criticising the club and manager for this, he could have easily pushed for a move away from Old Trafford but has constantly pledged to fight for his place as a move elsewhere would be ‘a step down’ his attitude is spot on, and there are plenty of footballers, such as Carlos Tevez, who should take note and follow suit. You may be thinking shouldn’t footballers act like that anyway? Indeed they should, but in this day and age that is not how the average footballer acts, Berbatov’s attitude is a breath of fresh air, and for that, he deserves plenty of respect and admiration

 

The two pictures included in this article sum up Berbatov’s time at United perfect, the first one, displays his phenomenal skill and grace on the football field, and the second sums up his recent frustrations at not being given enough opportunities to display what he is capable of on a more regular basis.

So with Berbatov almost certainly leaving the club at the end of the season, as a fan, I will miss him, his professionalism and majestic qualities on the pitch are anything but a disruption. I am sure he will go on to do well wherever he finds first team football, he is the type of footballer who needs a run of games to display his true quality. So thanks for the time Dimitar, it’s been a pleasure.

You can follow Gary on Twitter: @thegarycox

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