Why Berbatov was uncomfortable with chant
Dimitar Berbatov was, and still is, a popular figure among Manchester United supporters, to the extent that he quickly had his own chant sung by the supporters.
The gist of the song, and clean interpretation, was that the Bulgarian clearly preferred to join United rather than neighbours City after both clubs moved for the Tottenham striker on a frantic deadline day back in 2008.
It wasn't the content of the chant that made the centre-forward feel uneasy, but rather the fact that it meant he was being singled out and in the spotlight when, in his view, football is very much a team game.
For a supremely confident player with such extravagant skill and poise, it was a little surprising to hear Berbatov admit to a bashful side when we caught up with him ahead of his involvement in the Legends of the North charity game at Old Trafford.
When we asked about his chant, he replied: "Well, I heard it but, to be honest, in my case, in every club I was, there was a song. In [Bayer] Leverkusen, in Spurs, in United, in Fulham. But, in my case, it’s going to sound strange probably, but I felt uncomfortable.
"I don’t know why. It made me feel when I was hearing it, please don’t sing it. I don’t know why but it makes me feel uncomfortable. In a way, it was good but I just want to play. I will do my job, I will entertain you guys but it was a bit, I don’t know, just out there, the spotlight, in a way that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. It sounds crazy and strange but it’s how I was and I still am.
"I just want to play football. I played football when I was playing for United and then go home. I know I entertain the fans, like, for example, the Berba spin against West Ham, and then I’m going home all smiles. I did my job.”
Certainly, the assist for Cristiano Ronaldo against West Ham, towards the end of October in 2008, is one that rightly fills the Bulgarian with immense pride. It was surely one of the best assists in Premier League history and is still watched in awe by young fans on YouTube and social media, particularly when the anniversary comes around.
“Well, that assist is probably up there with my favourite moments of my career, even better than some of the goals I used to score, because I made something special," he told us.
“Even to this day, when I watch a clip of the goal or some people are showing me the clip or sending me the clip, I still hear the crowd, even now, in my head. When I watch the clip, when I do the spin, the crowd going ‘woooah’, this is what it is all about, to do stuff like this and then say to Ronaldo: ‘There you go, just score’.
"Of course, everyone was happy but we acted like we were showing we were cool," he added. "Nothing special happened. But, of course, we knew it was a good assist and a good goal.
"This is what the standards at United should be, moments like this, when the fans go home to chat about this on the way home and try to do the same what I do. This is something special.”.
Berbatov certainly did much to entertain the crowd at Old Trafford and finished with a Premier League record of 48 goals in 108 games for the Reds.