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Is United’s Berbatov Really One Of Football’s ‘Bad Guys’?

I was watching highlights of Manchester United’s game against Hull on MOTD Saturday night, interesting game obviously, but it wasn’t the 4-3 scoreline that caught my attention really, it was all about a certain Bulgarian striker.

It’s a definite first for me to sing the praises of an opposition player on here, but seriously, how good does Dimitar Berbatov look at United? I mean, I always rated him when he was at Spurs and he’s a player most of us would love to have at our club surely? And yet, all the while he was at an average club, you just knew he was capable of going up a level.

The fact that he made the decision to do so, hasn’t gone down well with Daniel Levy though. The Spurs chairman had a right old whinge about the move at the time, making all sorts of idle threats he couldn’t back up, but even now when he should be more concerned about the mess his own joke of a club are in, Levy won’t leave it alone. Like a dog with a bone he’s blamed Ramos for allowing Berbatov to leave in the first place and in a continued effort to divert attention away from the fact that the club haven’t achieved under his stewardship, Levy then goes on to bitch about the 27 year old striker.

Of the move, Levy says “We had a player that had refused to play two Premier League games for us (against Sunderland and Chelsea), was having a detrimental impact on the dressing room and we’d known for a year that this player wanted out of this club. We were very disappointed. Dimitar Berbatov was a player who we brought to this club at a time when Man Utd were interested in him. He made a conscious decision to come to this club, we invested a lot of money, nobody had ever heard of Dimitar Berbatov when we bought him. A year later with 10 days to go to the end of the window he tells us he wants to leave to go to Manchester United.”

So they’d known he wanted a move for a year and yet held on to him anyway? Serves them bloody right then. And what about this ‘detrimental effect’ he was having? What exactly is so detrimental about having a player who wants to leave, still going out there and scoring 23 goals for you regardless? Yes he’d signed a contract for Spurs but hadn’t he done that with the promise of Champions League football? Wasn’t he fed some line about Tottenham’s ‘ambitions’? In other words Levy, these broken promises seem to have worked both ways. So was it so surprising he wanted to move? After all, if the boot had been on the other foot and Berbatov hadn’t delivered on the pitch, wouldn’t you have sold him on without a second thought?

Anyway, the tiresome bore goes on “I don’t think he treated this club with the respect that we honestly deserved. We put him on the map, I think he’s an outstanding player, but he signed a long-term contract with this club and I think he should have stayed.”

Er, hang on a minute though, isn’t this player Levy suggests Spurs ‘put on the map’ the very same player who was scoring Champions League goals against Lyon and Liverpool for Bayer Leverkusen 6 or 7 years ago, as well as giving the club 16 goals in 24 starts in the 2003-04 season? And wasn’t it the following 2 seasons during which he scored 46 goals as well as 5 in the Champions League in 2004-05 that actually ‘put him on the map’? And as for not treating Spurs with the respect they deserved, what exactly did he do that was disrespectful? Did he come out in the papers every week for a year saying how much he wanted to leave? Did he put an autobiography together Drogba style, making a note in print of how little respect he had for the club’s shirt? No, he simply made a decision to play at a club where his quality would be rewarded with trophies as opposed to mid-table mediocrity. Shame on him!

And Berbatov clearly didn’t make that move for the money either, because if that was the case he would’ve moved to Man City who were prepared to offer as much as it took to snatch him on deadline day. Berbatov didn’t even entertain that idea though because again, he probably knew that would be no way to showcase his skills at the highest level.

Besides, Berbatov clearly isn’t some shallow mercenary. In fact, in spite of what Levy would have people believe, Berbatov isn’t one of football’s bad guys. The Bulgarian’s upbringing, which saw the young Berbatov often queue for up to eight hours for bread, has resulted in a pretty grounded bloke for a Premier League star. The £30million striker says My personality has been shaped by my upbringing. I know what a crisis is. I appreciate life and I never take anything for granted.” Whilst his mother adds “Dimitar has no interest in a fancy lifestyle. His life is football, family and friends. He can travel anywhere in the world, but he tells me he prefers Bulgaria to Barbados.”

And whilst he’s been working his way so ‘selfishly’ up the footballing ladder, he’s managed to support five care homes, paid out for 500 pairs of trainers so that deprived children didn’t have to walk around barefoot, and even as far back as 2001 – when according to Levy, he was a nobody – Berbatov paid for a young girl to have life-saving liver transplant surgery. Oh, and he’s also investing in a football academy in his hometown. I wonder if we’ll ever read stories like that about Daniel Levy in the press?

No, of course we won’t because you see, Dimitar Berbatov isn’t just class on the pitch, he’s clearly class off it as well and that’s a word Daniel Levy will never be associated with.



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


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