With Dimitar Berbatov’s time at Manchester United coming to a close, there is an undercurrent of sadness that the separation will bring.
Despite losing the trust of his manager, Berbatov has acted with a dignity that contributes to the feeling of sadness. He has not spoken out in the press against his manager, nor talked up his chances of getting a move elsewhere. Last season he finished joint top-scorer in the Premiership with Carlos Tevez. The Argentinean could learn a lot from his former teammate.
Berbatov’s goalscoring record cannot be knocked, having found the net 48 times in 82 league starts for United. He can also produce moments of magic that are arguably beyond most other players in the squad. But he does not produce the explosive pace that his manager craves, and can be found in United’s other forwards. Rooney, Hernandez, Welbeck, Nani, Young and Valencia are all blessed with speed and rapid acceleration, and are able to smoothly interchange position.
The writing was on the wall when Berbatov was completely left out of the Champions League Final squad against Barcelona last season. The disappointment was crushing for a striker who had scored so frequently throughout the campaign, and showed that Ferguson did not trust his Number 9 in the big games, which was a constant theme with Berbatov.
Bulgaria’s all-time leading scorer has kept the peace despite these knockbacks, and even told his agent that he is “uncomfortable” receiving his salary and not “working”. Whilst still on United’s books though, Berbatov should be given the opportunity to play. He was an unused substitute last Monday against Fulham, when he could have been introduced to help with United’s need to maintain possession. There was no call for pacey attackers on this occasion, and Berbatov’s calmness and composure on the ball could have eased the pressure on his backline.
United fans will hope that they are afforded a proper farewell to a player of sublime technique who has the ability to make a crowd draw breath in unison. He could easily have thrown his toys out of the pram at the situation he has found himself in, but has kept his decorum in a manner than could be noted by some of his fellow professionals.
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