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“Languidity” – The Dimitar Berbatov Story

August 19, 2009

“He’s here. He’s there. He’s every f$%kin where..Ber-ba-toooov, Ber-ba-toooov”

Once again another song we are not likely to hear from the faithful at the Theatre any time soon.

Looking more like a lead actor in a French Noir film, smoking a cigarette and sporting poetry as he glides across the Old Trafford grass, rather than an international world class striker, Mr Berbatov has not endeared himself to any reds, as of yet, due to his languid style. Many claim to have actually seen Dimitar on the halfway line, reading aloud a play by Balzac, while United defended a corner. And many have also seen him sunbathing on the pitch, on a deckchair, when the Manchester weather permits such an unexpected surprise, for cloudy Lancashire.

Are these sightings true!? Or is the man just plain bloody lazy!?

Everybody knew what we were getting when Sir Alex sent a big fat cheque to North London for the Bulgarian’s services. Berbatov has NEVER chased back, has NEVER made a last gasp sliding tackle, and will NEVER thrown his head at a ball that was just about to be booted into Row Z by a John Terry-esque character. For this is NOT what the man does. In 2008, it was clear we needed a different type of striker. One that was not all blood and thunder like Rooney. Not all heroic bravery like Tevez. And not one, that was a million stepovers like Ronaldo. Everyone agreed we needed a Cantona…a Sheringham. Someone who would drop a little..look up and calm the play down when needed. We all agreed that there was only one footballer in England that fitted that bill. And we signed him.

Twelve months on, and paper gossip dictates that our number 9 would be offered to Athletico Madrid, or even Valencia, in part exchange for their own prodigious striking heroes. So we no longer need that Cantona/Teddy type of striker? We no longer need someone with a deft touch? Funny how opinions change in a few hundred days!

Admittedly, i have been less than impressed with Berbatov so far. As a fan witnessing him from the stands his play is less than electric…it almost makes you NOT want to cheer for him. But the truth is and always will be, that while he plays for us, we will always want him to unequivocally succeed.

Because We need Dimitar Berbatov now as much as he needs Us.

Nothing has changed at United in the striking department. OK, we’ve lost Tev and Ron. But the fact remains that we still need that talisman. The one who can give balance to our striking options. When you think about it there is not another striker in Europe like Berbatov, not at the top level. He has a first touch to die for, vision which dictates he must have three pairs of eyes, and a calm consistency not seen since Matthew LeTissier walked (not ran!) around Premiership pitches destroying opposition at will. He is the footballing equivalent of a chess player.

We need Dimi now. Today. This is his time. The man has openly admitted that he needs to play better and score more goals, and has promised such. The balance of himself, Roo, Owen and Kiko (not forgetting Danny Welbeck) is exciting enough to put fear into every English and European defence we encounter. If we can get the supply chain to the strikers correct (and lets face it, in recent memory, when have we played with two providing wingers? Ronaldo nullified any of that because he provided himself!) then we can march toward title number 19.

So lets not discount the boy with the slicked backed hair just yet. Maybe he will decide to lose the imaginary cigarettes and emerge as a United hero sometime very soon…

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. pete permalink
    August 19, 2009 12:21 pm

    is he really smoking a fag? a prem league footy player smoking? has that been photoshopped in? he looks like david ginola in that photo except the difference is ginola actually ran about for 90 minutes not 9 seconds…..laggard! absolute lethargy………….

  2. August 19, 2009 12:40 pm

    berba has started the season well. he ran more in the first game of the season than the whole of the last! i have faith

  3. August 19, 2009 12:58 pm

    btw Rob, idk if you saw the preseason matches but I ACTUALLY witnessed Berba chase balls down the other half and put an EFFORT off the ball. Lets see if he can put it together this year. Last year he got a free pass, but this time around, United supporters won’t be too forgiving.

  4. August 19, 2009 1:14 pm

    i saw his workrate in preseason. he played well. also he did work against birmingham as well. but lets be honest.. last year, it was a massive anti climax. as i said i think he will come good, but like nani, he is walking a tightrope.

  5. August 19, 2009 3:33 pm

    Let’s not forget Dimitar had the second most number of assists last season, coming in just after van Persie and Fat Frank and even with the likes of Stevie G and Steven Ireland.

    I once moaned about Berbatov and it was pointed out to me to take a look at his space creating movement off the ball. He actually is prolific at spreading out a defensive line and allowing players such as Rooney to make runs which result in goals.

    Being said, he tracks back for f*** all.
    But don’t count the boy Berba out just yet.

  6. August 19, 2009 3:39 pm

    Let’s not forget that Berba had the second most assists in the Premiership last year. I think people had unfiar expectations of him after watching Tevez and Rooney play together in 2007.

    Berba has never had a high work rate so we shouldn’t try to change his demeanor. Fergie spent 30 million on him to play the way he did at Spurs and Leverkusen, not to transform him into Tevez.

  7. August 19, 2009 3:40 pm

    Looks like I was late with the assists stat…

  8. August 19, 2009 4:07 pm

    You cant know Berba, hes made four passes to his own team already this season, thats two up from last.

  9. August 19, 2009 4:11 pm

    To continue the pro-Berba rant from above, since we will be sticking to a more rigid 4-4-2 this year, we need Berba’s stature and ability to flick due to the increased number of crosses into the box in the game versus Birmingham and the rest of the season

  10. maserati4200 permalink
    August 19, 2009 4:24 pm

    An individual’s work rate means nothing if you have the right balance in the team.

    Zidane’s water-carrier and minder was Didier Dechamps, i.e win the ball then give it to ZeeZou. It worked.

    I wouldn’t put Berba anywhere near the same class as Zindane but the principle works in a team which is balanced.


  11. August 20, 2009 6:28 am

    I thought when SAF wanted to give 20mil quid to us for Berba I said “TAKE IT LEVY!”. But we got 30mil and a shorter transfer window. BUT having said that, Spurs have not gotten the same dimension since he left.

    Yes – he doesn’t run for the ball or closes down players. But his link up play spread defenses across the pitch, and left many thinking how they could stop him.

    And I think he will come good because of the 4-4-2 system used at Spurs then and Leverkusen. So give him a chance. Or give him back. For cheap. LOL

  12. George permalink
    August 20, 2009 9:44 am

    There’s no doubting that Berbatov can be a genius on the ball. We’ve seen that in his Spurs days – he scores some unbelievable goals, and has immeasurable talent. However, I just don’t think he fits with the United system.

    Berbatov is a guy who drops deep for the ball, but does bugger all work when it comes to the defensive side of the game. United also have Rooney, who also likes to drop deep for the ball. And Michael Owen, who these days comes a lot deeper than he used to. That’s three strikers dropping deep for the ball. So who’ve they got on the last man? No one. At Spurs, Berba played with Defoe, who sticks to the last man like superglue. With Berba dropping deep, Defoe could play off him and receive balls through from Berba himself, and the likes of Huddlestone in the midfield.

    United need a striker who will play on the last man, and feed off Berbatov, Rooney, and Owen.

  13. Shallowgirl permalink
    August 21, 2009 8:02 am

    I don’t care how he plays, at last I have found a “love interest” to replace David Ginola!

  14. Henry permalink
    August 19, 2014 11:34 am

    We are emotionally so immature and illogical in our “civilized” and “tolerant” western countries, it’s almost absurdly funny to observe.

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