We spoke to Dimitar Berbatov just after his Liverpool hat-trick to relive his best day in Red, and find out just what makes him tick…
Dimitar, how does it feel to have written your own bit of Manchester United history?
I didn’t know before the Liverpool game that it was such a long time since any United player had scored a hat-trick against them. But afterwards I found out that no-one had done it for 64 years so I felt proud. It was a magical day for me. It’s not every day you score three goals against a team like Liverpool. But the most important thing was that we won. If the game had finished 2-2, even if I had scored two goals, it wouldn’t be pleasant. It was a great game and I hope everyone was entertained.
Everyone’s still talking about your amazing overhead kick. How was it from your point of view?
I was just in the box and I saw Nani’s cross coming. Wayne Rooney was in front of me and he was going for the ball so I was screaming for him to leave it. I think he heard me – afterwards in the dresing room he said he did and that’s why he left the ball at the last minute. I saw the ball drop and there was no other way to control it except with my thigh and I just tried to do something different. In a situation like this, you don’t have so much time to think. The first thing that came into my mind was to take it on the thigh and try to hit it like this [mimes an overhead kick]. Even when I did it, I didn’t know the ball was in. I was on the ground, turning around, and then I heard the crowd screaming. After that I knew something special had happened.
We enjoyed the third goal at Liverpool, not just because it won the game, but because it was more a classic centre-forward’s type of goal. How important is that physical presence in your game?
I don’t consider myself a classical centre-forward. I try to bring something different to the game. I depend more on my touch and my technical ability than to jump and play with my elbows. Obviously there are moments when you have to decide to rely on your technique, or to be more physical to try to score the goal. The third goal against Liverpool was also beautiful for me – it was a cross and you have just a second to think about what the defender is going to do and how you are going to outsmart him. I jumped just a second before