Dimitar Berbatov takes his art very seriously.
A born entertainer with a penchant for the unpredictable, the 28-year-old striker admits he and his colleagues relish every chance to wow the Old Trafford crowd. We recently caught up with the Bulgarian at United's Carrington training ground...
Dimitar, you’ve looked very sharp in the early part of this season. Has it helped to have a pre-season campaign and some stability, as opposed to last summer’s last-minute move to United?
It has. Pre-season is important to every player and I think now we are ready for the long season ahead. Again we are going for everything there is to win, like every year. We have a good squad. I don’t need to introduce anybody – everybody knows what Manchester United players are capable of, so we are ready to go again.
How big a relief was it to get off the mark at Wigan?
It was a relief, it is always good to start scoring. Plus, I prefer to score beautiful goals than ugly goals, and this one was really nice. I was going for the ball and aiming to catch it before him [Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland]. I did it and I was thinking: 'Now I’m going to smash it in the net!' It turns out I didn’t catch it so well, but it still ended up in the net. A goal is a goal!
How highly do you rate Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen, your fellow senior strikers?
What can you say about Wayne? He’s been here for so many years, playing top football and it’s amazing that he’s only 23. When he reaches around 28, he’ll be even better. We see in training, and you can see in games, the unbelievable passion he has for football. As for Michael Owen, he won the Ballon d’Or – that says everything. I think Sir Alex was right to bring him here and he will have the chances to score many goals for us.
You’re three very different strikers – are you learning from one another?
I don’t think you stop learning until you quit football. With all the talents we have in Manchester United, they do stuff that sometimes I honestly cannot do – and I don’t even try to do because I would look like a fool! Sometimes you want to try new stuff, you see people doing things and you ask them about it. You learn from