Date: 27th September 2011 at 3:55pm
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Berbatov celebrates

Could Berba be back in the starting line-up tonight?

Dimitar Berbatov could be in line for a rare Champions League start tonight, despite the news that a man was arrested in Bulgaria for plotting to kidnap the striker’s mother.

The Metro reports:

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to hand Dimitar Berbatov a chance to prove his worth in tonight’s Champions League clash against Basel, after admitting the Bulgarian is now just a bit-part player at Old Trafford.

The Guardian notes:

Berbatov poised to line up against Basel at Old Trafford

Berbatov has been frequently overlooked on the big occasions by Ferguson, notably the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona at Wembley in May, and may be required for United’s opening home game in Europe this season. Wayne Rooney is a confirmed absentee with a hamstring injury, a problem with potential repercussions for England’s Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro on Friday week, so too Javier Hernández with a dead leg he sustained at Stoke City on Saturday.

With Danny Welbeck also easing his way back from a hamstring tear it would represent another slight on the £30.75m striker not to be selected ahead of or alongside Owen, Federico Macheda or Mame Biram Diouf.

The 30-year-old has started United’s last two matches, the draw at the Britannia Stadium and the Carling Cup win at Leeds United, and perhaps that explained Ferguson’s irritation when pressed on Berbatov’s contribution to the Champions League campaign. “Of course he’s got a part to play. He’s one of our squad members and they’ve all got a part to play,” the United manager said. “There are a lot of games in the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Carling Cup. It’s an exhausting season unless you use your squad.”

Meanwhile The Sun reported this morning:

Premier League ace Dimitar Berbatov was stunned last night after a man was seized for allegedly threatening to kidnap his mother.

The Manchester United forward’s terrified mum Margarita received an email warning she would be abducted unless a large cash sum was handed over.

Anti-Mafia cops arrested suspect Petar Antonov, 38, at his home in the Bulgarian city of Blagoevgrad, where Berbatov grew up and nurse Margarita, 51, still lives.

The swoop came after IT experts allegedly traced the email to Antonov’s home computer.

It seems strange to say the least that a player who wasn’t even on the bench for the Champions League final would find himself in the starting line up only a day after recieving such a shock.

With the injuries United have and the fact that despite what some Reds claim Berbatov is still a class act, who’s also from a country where men are men and kidnappers can sod off, it wouldn’t be that surprising to see last season’s top scorer making a start.

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