Question – Are you sick and tired of hearing what an absolute genius or how utterly useless Dimitar Berbatov is? Those are the two extremes of the many opinions people seem to have of Manchester United’s £31m Bulgarian and it has become quite a boring saga for most of us. Minds have been firmly made up with United fans having plenty to say but what about the people who know Berba better than anyone else, what are the opinions of his team mates?
Both AC Milan and Bayern Munich are now reported to be interested in ending his spell at Old Trafford. If the words coming out of the United camp are to be believed however, those two European giants could be wasting their time. Whenever Berbatov has come under attack he hasn’t had to look far for support. From manager Sir Alex Ferguson to superstar team mate Wayne Rooney, the club record signing has received plenty of in house praise.
After handing Berbatov just 17 minutes of action over the two legs of the Champions League quarter final clash with Bayern Munich Ferguson said “Yes, I still trust him, he is a good player and there is absolutely no reason why we should doubt that.
Dimitar has done well in a lot of games recently but we prefer to play with one striker. When we got the man sent off on Wednesday there was no need to bring a striker on because all we were trying to do was go over the line in terms of defending”
Perhaps the most important opinion after that of Ferguson is the one of strike partner Wayne Rooney. What does he think about playing alongside Berbatov, do they make for an effective partnership? Speaking about the Bulgarian last summer Rooney was highly impressed and is certainly a fan of his “You can see in training and in our pre season games that he’s looking sharper. He’s looking more determined, tracking back to help the full-backs, he’s definitely working harder and trying to impress.
He’s a brilliant player, a lot of time I get told not to track back and to conserve my energy, stay upfield and save myself for when we are attacking. Berbatov is certainly better when he’s full of energy and getting touches of the ball”
United legend Ryan Giggs gave Berbatov’s signing his seal of approval in September 2008. “Dimitar is quality and definitely a Manchester United player. He’s got that presence being a big lad and he’s a little bit different to Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney in that respect. Hopefully he’ll do well for us and I’m sure that he will, he has added to our attacking options.”
Club captain Gary Neville has played with some of the best footballers in the sport during his 18 year spell at United. He has applauded Berbatov’s displays in the last few weeks “Dimitar’s performances in the wins against Wolves and Bolton have showed fantastic determination, he has played up front on his own in both games.
He was a massive presence running the line for us against Bolton. It has been so important to us that when Wayne has not been playing Dimi has been outstanding.”
Rio Ferdinand also came to United with a massive price tag. He was impressed with Berbatov’s dogged performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers in March “I wasn’t surprised at Berba’s work rate. To be honest if you look at the statistics you’ll see that he’s one of the hardest runners in our team and that he covers the most ground. He’s a bit languid and whatnot, but he really puts the effort in”
“People see a different side to him but I don’t think that it actually reflects his importance to the team. He’s appreciated by us and that’s the most important thing. I thought he was brilliant against Wolves, for one player to play up front on his own and occupy their back four the way he did was testament to his quality.”
Nemanja Vidic had no qualms about Berbatov leading the line recently in Rooney’s enforced absence due to injury “Dimitar had a great game against Bolton on Saturday. He is a great footballer, he scored twice himself and can set up goals for other players as well. We have a good squad, we just need to believe in ourselves and believe in each other”
Managers, coaching staff and team mates often see and appreciate different things in players than fans do. It does not mean that one opinion is right and the other one wrong, football is hardly ever as black and white as that. It is interesting however to hear views from a different perspective, views that us fans rarely ever get an insight into.
Is there a place for Berbatov in next season’s Manchester United squad?