Berbatov – The Enigma

Berbatov – a lazy misunderstood genius or a flat track bully? TKTG offers two views on the former Man United striker.

(Getty)

Richard Jolly: How Berbatov failed to win over Fergie.

“In 2008, it was Manchester City and Manchester United competing for Dimitar Berbatov. In 2012, it was Juventus and Fiorentina before the Bulgarian opted for Fulham instead. He had the talent to play for any.

Berbatov remains the most expensive player in United’s history, a £30.75 million signing from Tottenham, but he leaves for a lesser fee than Sir Alex Ferguson recouped for Kieran Richardson. It is enough to make any member of the Glazer family wince and yet if Berbatov’s destiny is to be bracketed alongside Juan Sebastian Veron (as Ferguson’s costliest failures) the fault is not his alone.

This was despite sharing the Golden Boot with his antithesis Tevez in 2010-11, economy of movement and incessant running yielding 20 goals apiece…….Eleven of those 20 goals came in three matches, five of them alone against Blackburn. A hat-trick to defeat Liverpool, including a wonderful overhead kick, was a rare instance of Berbatov deciding a marquee match but, it was Roy Hodgson’s Liverpool: his victims were still undistinguished.

Read Richard Jolly on how Berbatov failed to win over Fergie.

Football Ramble: Let Him Walk

“we might conclude that there are two types of attacker.  There are those who appear indifferent to the people moving around them; unimpressed by the boom of the crowd; detached from the rest until the ball comes to them, and then they will shoot or pass the attention off to the side – they’d rather look impassive and enigmatic than be bothered by a ball at their feet. They’ll make something resembling an effort to score, but they wouldn’t dare be seen running after a long ball over the top.

The second kind is that grimly determined streak of steel, blood and dirt. Carlos Tevez looks tough, and is tough. Craig Bellamy looks as though he’s spent his life charging at people much bigger than him, and he has. It wouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Dider Drogba’s thighs were sculpted by an overenthusiastic god, and could send you into vacuum if they felt so inclined. Rampaging towards goal, Carlos Tevez is unapologetically direct and uncomplicated. These players are strong and straightforward; honest in their determination to score a goal, which we know because they “look hungry”.

Dimitar Berbatov, for instance, is good. Dimitar Berbatov is phenomonally good. Dimitar Berbatov is so good he should have played for Manchester United every week, but he didn’t. He managed to divide an entire fanbase; existing as the archetypal rogue and wonder.

To compare him to the scoring records of others is to miss Berbatov’s purpose. Efficiency is not all there is and ever will be, so although winning is winning and winning is fun, there is more to football than cold numbers in order on a table or a list. Berbatov is an intensely beautiful player, damned by a common belief in effectiveness and precise goals-to-games ratios. It’s unfortunate that it’s this that seems to matter above all to football fans.

Let him stop time with a sudden contortion. Let him move the millions in their seats. Let him walk. Above anything, let him walk.

Continue reading Let Him walk by Max Grieve on The Football Ramble.

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