Five things we learned from Berba on UTD Podcast
The second episode of UTD Podcast stars the incomparable Dimitar Berbatov and is a must-listen for every Manchester United supporter. Here are five things we learned from the Bulgarian…
Berbatov begins by recalling his childhood in Eastern Europe and the frank realities of poverty, which helped to mould his strong character and ambition to play football. “I caught the last days of communism so it wasn’t pleasant,” he says. “What has stuck most in my mind was how we went for bread, waiting in line for it at 6am and if you skip the line you don’t eat. These kinds of things brought you together as a family, but when you are a kid you think of it as a game.”
Berba admits he was annoyed by critics who said he wasn’t mobile enough, stating that his reading of the game and intelligent movement made up for unnecessary running up front. “Some people don’t understand the game,” he says. “They are purely speaking to feel good about themselves.”
Expanding, he says: “When people think I was lazy, I go: ‘did Eric Cantona run around? No!’ The label is not fair. I can give you another 10 players who do exactly the same as me, purely because they read the game two or three steps ahead. You anticipate, you are clever, you can afford not to do it.”
That’s the household task that Berba completed when he got home, at the instruction of his wife, just hours after scoring his famous hat-trick against Liverpool. He had felt like a king on the journey back from Old Trafford, on top of the world, but quickly came crashing back down to earth and that normal family life was crucial to staying grounded. Watch the amazing extract below…
UTD Podcast: Berbatov's history with Liverpool
Berba's United debut ended in defeat to Liverpool, but he made up for it with THAT hat-trick years later...
“I felt s***, it did not feel good,” says Dimitar, recalling his 2012 exit. “I had the option to stay for another year. But was it the right decision to stay? Manchester United is the biggest club in the world, but was I going to play? Probably not as much as I wanted to because I spoke with the gaffer and Robin van Persie was coming in, Chicharito was there, Wayne Rooney, so where was I fitting in? I could have sat there and collected my fee, but I wasn’t going to be happy so I chose to go and play. The love for the game is always there. If I play, I feel alive. But it was emotional.”
Berba is working on a book that has been written in Bulgarian, but needs to be translated into English – “some words you do not have in English, so it takes time,” he says. He is also working on his own foundation, businesses and completing his coaching badges in football, which will sit alongside his degree in sports management. Make no mistake; we'll definitely hear more from Dimitar!
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