Dimitar Berbatov sprays champagne in the dressing room after winning the league.

Stoichkov: Berbatov was a decisive player for United

Hristo Stoichkov has spoken glowingly about his fellow Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov during an exclusive interview with MUTV.

The legendary former Barcelona striker, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1994, was at the Aon Training Complex recently and was asked for his opinion on ex-Red Berbatov, who celebrates his 38th birthday on Wednesday.
Former Ballon d'Or winner Hristo Stoichkov.
Bulgarian legend Hristo Stoichkov visited the Aon Training Complex.

”Dimitar was a player I really rated a lot,” Stoichkov told us. “I was with him in the national team. He’s a very humble, down-to-earth guy, a real fighter and someone who made history in Bulgarian football. He played for CSKA Sofia at a very young age, and then he moved to Bayer Leverkusen and then on to Tottenham. And then, of course, to United.

”Step by step, he gradually became a great player. For me, Dimitar was a role model for other young Bulgarian players - Stiliyan Petrov, Martin Petrov, Valeri Bojinov.

”That crop of youngsters who left to play in English football. I’m very happy because I have a really close friendship with Berbatov, Stiliyan and Martin Petrov, because I had those players when I was manager of the Bulgarian national side.

”It was easy for me to be with them, coach them and experience the good things in football with them.”

Dimitar Berbatov with the Golden Boot in 2011.
Berbatov proudly shows off the Golden Boot after his goalscoring exploits in 2010/11.

Berbatov was joint-leading scorer in the Premier League in 2010/11, when Sir Alex Ferguson’s side won the title. The classy forward’s 20 goals were matched by Manchester City’s former United man Carlos Tevez, ensuring the award was shared for the first time since 1998/99 when Treble hero Dwight Yorke netted 18 times, the same tally as Liverpool’s Michael Owen and Leeds United’s Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

“Berbatov was a really decisive player here,” added Stoichkov. “He was the English league’s leading scorer, he had the Golden Shoe didn’t he? Winning leagues and cups is really great.

“It’s really quite unique because he lives here, he has a house in Manchester and he’s a well-loved person and I have a lot of time for him.”

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