Berbatov leaves: I wanted to love him but it was never a perfect match

Dimitar Berbatov on pre-season tour

Author: Doron

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A saga lasting close to a year has finally ended, Dimitar Berbatov has been sold by United and will join Fulham for a fee reported to be no more than £4m. The bizarre transfer ordeal saw him set to sign for Fiorentina then Juventus before Fulham stepped in to reunite him with Martin Jol.

Upon joining deep into deadline day in the summer of 2008, I couldn’t have been happier. Dimitar was the player that I and lots of United fans wanted to complete the team. He’d add class to us and be the difference in the tight games. Unfortunately that was never to be the case.

Berbatov has been both an entertainer and a frustration. The genius of his touch, calmness and vision were too often compounded by anonymity. Berbatov’s not a lazy player but his style has often felt out of place at United. Rather than being the fulcrum to passages of play he’d be on the periphery of moves and rarely settled or formed a partnership with any one of United’s strikers.

Eulogies to his control alone will be written but the unfortunate facts are that he didn’t deliver. Maybe it’s been similar to the Veron transfer – a brilliant footballer used in completely the wrong way. There are similarities between the two though – better than many would have you believe but just not right for the club, at least not at the time they were employees.

Strikers are naturally judged on goals and Berbatov delivered some memorable ones (the overhead kick against Liverpool for example). During the 2010/11 season he was vital to the league title success, scoring 20 goals but even then, there were doubters (myself included). The volume of goals was perfect but he scored 11 of them in just three games which highlighted a disappointing inconsistency on his part. Europe may have been where he was most disappointing as he went over three years without a goal in the Champions League; unfortunately compounding the theory that he often failed to deliver in big games (the stats back that up).

Ideally, he’d have been sold last summer. It seemed unfair on him that he’d feature so little last season as Welbeck and Hernandez forced him into fourth choice. United seemed intent on having him around – maybe for an injury crisis that never quite hit our strikers, or maybe so they could extend his contract by a year in the hope of getting a better fee (that hasn’t worked). Credit to the player though, there was no moaning from his part other than honest murmurings that he wanted to play more – he simply continued to train and play when called upon.

Some will mourn his loss, others will feel relieved that’s moved on – this is a player who’s completely split opinions on fans for most of his spell at the club. Personally, I’ll just be disappointed that someone I wanted to love never became a perfect fit for the club. Best of luck to Dimitar and thanks for the magic moments; regular football is the minimum he and his professional attitude deserve – at least he’s not gone too far away.

Further reading:

Dimitar Berbatov essential analysis: Berbaflop or Berbarotica
The Man United conundrum that has no correct answer


5 Comments on Berbatov leaves: I wanted to love him but it was never a perfect match

  1. The MagicMoment against WestHam was scintillating; he also did something equally outrageous against Spurs in that match when UTD came back from a 0-2 half-time scoreline to score five in the second half. AND, of course, the hat-trick against LiverPoo, the five against Blackburn, and the two against Blackpool were just wonderful – THAT’S why SAF splashed-the-ca$h but, alas, those moments were set apart by too many matches in which he was just a passenger.

    It was never a question of “laziness” but his rhythm was mostly out-of-sync with how TheLads play – the proverbial square-peg-in-a-round-hole. Glorious skill, sumptuous control BUT too often invisible instead of playing centrally AND forward..

    Who can forget his arrival four years ago when he snubbed ManShitty to play for a “proper” club – and no one should forget that this proud man was just as happy to be a part of a winning team as being the star-of-the-show. He was always respectful and I wish him all-the-best except, of course, when TheLads journey down to Craven Cottage in the new year.

  2. he is still a quality player its just the manchester united changed the way they play ever since we have ronaldo tevez and rooney up front we have become more of a counter attacking team, with quick transitions of play. berba couldnt keep up with that way of playing because united became about speed power and agility. the funny thing is now our play has slowed down abit and we’re trying to keep control of the ball more. ironically this way of playing suits berba alot more where the play can be more methodical.

    i think all united fans an thoses of other teams who dont have everything man u, will wish him all the best he is a top player, honestly im suprised he didnt go to juve he had one last chance at champions league and also would have had a chance to maybe win another trophy. i heard he didnt want to move because his family is settled in england which is a good reason too.

  3. Love Berbatov. Just didn’t fit into our style. Great player, languid, skilful and classy, both on and off the pitch. Always respectful of the club and fans, (and we are the club), just a great pity it didn’t work out.

    Goal at Fulham last year is worth a search. Always remember moments like that.

  4. Berbs was magnificent. Pity the middle is so woeful. IF they had world class ball handlers in the middle, he’d have worked out fine. Sideways, sideways, back, back, back, sideways. Painful to watch.

    Kagawa has already stated the obvious. If Cleverly keeps screaming for the ball six inches away and then dumping it back or sideways, I’m gonna heave.

  5. strange there is no blame pointed to personality cult hero fergusson. aj above made perfect point – i wonder sometimes if fergusson trying to prove a point like a stubborn child he is become just senile and don’t realise main united problem – lack of physicality and ability to win ball back. the game with southampton as well as loads of other games proves that. ferguson was dreaming about best strike force in the world then he signed van persie, but who gonna give him ball against teams like city, arsenal, newcastle, even west ham we will be outbattled in the middle. it’s scary to think that will happen to us in europe against organised sides with 3 in the middle.

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