Date: 2nd June 2011 at 10:45pm
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Berba gives us all a birthday present against the dippers

Berba gives us all a birthday present against the dippers

Skulking in the dressing room as his teammates were torn apart by the magnificent FC Barcelona, Dimitar Berbatov must have been wondering what he needed to do to earn a place in a Champions League final starting XI.

2011 was set to be the Bulgarian’s third Champions League final (he had previously come on as a late substitute in losses against Real Madrid and Barcelona) only for Ferguson’s bizarre squad decision to consign him to the role of watcher on.

With twenty goals, Berbatov was Manchester United’s top scorer, but crucially all twenty had come in the Premier League. United’s record signing hasn’t scored in Europe since a double in 2008 helped the Red Devils to a 3-0 victory over Celtic. However, even with that in mind, it is shocking that a player with only two goals in twelve months (and one of them in a meaningless game) should have taken Berbatov’s place on the bench.

While the rest of the players left out of the squad sat in seats just behind United’s dugout, Berbatov was nowhere to be found, rumor had it that he had left the stadium. Though post match it did come out that he had stayed in the dressing room, Berbatov’s future remained shrouded in mystery, and the club are still stalling on offering him a new contract.

I for one would be sad to see him leave. Over his three years at the club, Berbatov has supplied the Old Trafford faithful with a myriad of magical moments. Remember the turn and cross against West Ham, the bicycle against Liverpool and the magical five which tore apart Blackburn Rovers? Berbatov can be at times an enigma, a dividing force and a frustrated onlooker in games that he should be dominating, but no one can contest the quality of his skill and his poise.

Though he has a long way to go before reaching Cantona status, we must remember that the comparisons between the two are uncanny. Both possess a pair of magical feet, and the sort of arrogance which makes the World’s most difficult and technical game look like child’s play. Cantona came back from adversity after his kung fu kick, and did so with the full support of the fans. In return, the Frenchman brought yet more silverware back to Old Trafford, and we must trust that if Berbatov is given sufficient backing then he can do the same.

“I will fight for the twentieth title. There will be new finals and we will be fighting for new titles. I am moving ahead. When you go through difficult times, you should not quit. Everything at Manchester United starts from scratch for me on July 4th.”

That statement embodies exactly why Berbatov is a fitting bearer of the Manchester United flag. While some would have sulked, cried and whined after being left out of such a massive game, Berbatov has come out with a message of redemption, a determination to prove himself, qualities inherent in Sir Alex Ferguson’s philosophy.

As top scorer, Berbatov was probably expecting inclusion in the squad, especially as the alternative was a man who had hardly had a look in all season. That expectation makes Berbatov’s humility all the more impressive, it is refreshing to see someone so  committed to the cause, someone willing to risk spending the final years of his career on the bench so as to prove himself as a Manchester United player.
Ever since sealing his thirty million pound move in 2008, Berbatov has maintained that he plays football for the pure joy of it, and to entertain. While the lanky Bulgarian has not managed to score thirty million pounds worth of goals, he certainly has managed to entertain.

I really can’t think of anything much more beautiful than Berbatov in full flow, gliding across the football pitch, keeping the ball glued to his feet with that immaculate touch of his. You can be sure that if at all possible Berbatov will make good on his word. Yes, he will fight on, and wouldn’t it just be quintessential United if he played a starring role in next year’s Champions League showpiece…

Read more of David’s work at In For The Hat Trick

26 responses to “Humble Berbatov Deserves A Second Chance”

  1. Simon says:

    Ruining Berbatov’s season by unfairly sticking him on the bench wasn’t enough; Alex Ferguson was then seen by millions of viewers mocking and laughing at Berbatov as he sat on the substitutes’ bench against Marseille. And leaving Berbatov out of the Champions League final squad last night, was an act of direst cruelty by Alex Ferguson. Best manager in the world, no, the evilest manager, yes!

    Good luck Berbatov!

  2. Jackred says:

    2nd chance?? If he stays it’ll be his 4th season ….i know berba has talent and skills but consistency is not there! And he brings the teimpo down too much…. Its the best time to sell him otherwise no one will buy him for min of 2mill !

  3. Berbatov Fan says:

    I think the title of this piece is misformulated: it’s not Berbatov who deserves a second chance; it’s Sir Alex Ferguson!

  4. seun olufoye says:

    whats up with d berbatov praise? When a player last scored in d champs league in december 2008, he has no business in d final. As for d 20 goals he scored all season, they were scored in abt 8 or 9 games! What was he doing in d other games? Frustrating as ever. He should be sold off. A benzema would be better any day. Man utd need decisive players wit abilily on d ball in our midfield and not scpaps like fletcher n carrick whos creativity ends wit passing to ferdinand. Out wit d scraps if we are ever to beat barcelona. Thanx berbaflop, for all d frustration, liverpool hattrick, sometimes magical play but overall poor mental strength. I definately will not miss you el flop

    • Svet says:

      This season Berbatov brought 16 points for the team.
      Rooney 10. Hernandez 6. Before talking stupidity educate yourself little bit.

  5. david says:

    cracking article, if only people would wake up to berba. i am dumbfounded as to why he is not a firm fans favourate. personally i think he is our most gifted player and he is my favourate too, as much as one doesnt like to question/critise sir fergie he got it seriously wrong not put berba on the bench at the the very least. it just seemed such a strange move that i wonder if there is more to it like maybe they have argued or something because its strange that he has stuck by berba when he was off colour in his first full season etc yet after a crackin season this year (albeit a lil off the boil in last couple of weeks of season) he doesnt even give him a shot to influence the game. we envy barca and the way they pass and keep the ball well for me berba is the best in the league at keeping it, amazing first touch and brilliant close control he makes retaining possession look so easy and we could of done with that in the final to catch some breath for 5 mins after chasing shadows for most of the game. i just hope he stays and is allowed to prove his worth as it seems after his recent comments he is determined to do so!!! come on berba!

  6. Danny says:

    I am a huge Berbatov fan. His style and ability bring a much needed tactical change to the forwards at UTD. Rooney and Chico are great for running at teams and proved it in the Chelsea match. Against teams that can maintain possession however, the direct approach doesn’t work that well, as we all saw in the final. As much as I love the little guy, Chico has shown consistent lack of control or poise with his back to goal.I cant remember how many little one twos that I saw him mess up this season when he was outside of the area. I would be interested to see Berba played with Rooney, allowing Rooney to roam in the false 10, and let Berba work his magic in the area, or push the ball wide to Valencia / Nani. Unless UTD are resolved to hit teams on the counter attack, we need a player to keep possession and make those key distributive passes.

  7. Steve Crabtree says:

    Brilliant piece.

    Berba barely gives the ball away, has obviously proved his worth infront of goal, and is the best we have at effectively linking the 2nd third of the pitch to the final third.

    I think Fergie said in his book how he should never have dropped Jim Leighton for the 1990 FA Cup final replay…Berba not even making the bench for the CL final was worse in my opinion.

  8. Anneeq says:

    Everyone here seems to be fixated on Berbs potential, and what he’s like ‘in full flow.’ Now im not saying the guy’s rubbish, thatd be ridiculous! But he blows hot and cold, more cold than hot.

    I really thought after scoring 5 goals against blackburn, he’d go on a big goal scoring run, but it was not to be. He doesnt even score in the lesser profile games often enough. He never scores in important games in those crucial moments like Rooney does. Like against Man City Rooney scored that overhead kick, Berbatov has never done that in a SINGLE BIG game. Thats essentially why he didnt get picked for the champions league final. Even Owen has shown that he can score in those crucial, high intensity games such as that late winner against City and a few other goals. Yes he scored a hat trick against Liverpool, but that was one single game, a flash in the pan. How many goals has he scored against chelsea? apart from on in a meaningless community shield, none! how many has he scored against Man City? How many has he scored against Arsenal? NONE.

    Im not saying he should be sold cos obviously there is a brilliant striker there, but hes fast running out of time. If he’s lucky enough to stay in the United squad for next season then he has to make it count! He has to to score in those high profile games against Chelsea, Arsenal, he has to score in those quarter finals, semi finals etc.

    • Mike says:

      What was the reward for scoring 5 goals against Blackburn? A seat on the bench against Arsenal…

  9. david says:

    he hardly gets a chance to score in the big games as fergie usually puts him on the bench with wayne up top on his own so he had to make do with coming on as a sub to be fair to him. Also its not just about scoring goals as i think berba is as happy setting them up and linkin play as he is scoring goals, he was doing well and scoring goals then fergie dropped him and killed his confidence and then he went off the boil, he seems to be a big confidence player i think and fegie has cut his nuts off, i just feel sorry for the guy to be honest, really hope he stays!