One to Watch - Dimitar Berbatov
Name: Dimitar Berbatov
Date of Birth: 30/1/1981
Former Clubs: CSKA Sofia, Bayer Leverkusen, Tottenham, Man Utd
League Appearances (Goals): 393 (176)
International Appearances (Goals): 78 (48)
Stat of the Day: Only 7 of Dimitar Berbatov`s last 29 Premier League goals have been scored in away games
Player Profile: QPR have recently, and perhaps too often, fallen victim to the premise that because a player has graced the red of Manchester United they must be good (John Curtis, Federico Macheda and more recently Park Ji Sung as prime examples). Dimitar Berbatov was loosely linked with a move to Loftus Road over the summer and whilst he fit perfectly into QPR`s transfer policy of signing ageing 'names` on astronomical wages, they decided to look elsewhere. I`m not saying QPR were in any way interested in Berbatov, but the striker certainly wouldn`t have flopped in the way many of Rangers` ex-Manchester United signings have done. QPR could have done a lot worse in signing the Bulgarian (indeed they did) when they were easily in the mind-set to pay out for the striker.
Amidst the superior quality Dimitar Berbatov possesses, the big talking point about the 31-year-old is his playing style. His lackadaisical and languid demeanour whilst on the football pitch infuriated many United fans during his stay at Old Trafford, largely leading to the quick decline in his United career. Gary Neville stated on Monday night that Berbatov didn`t like the style of play at Man Utd, citing the quick counter attacking approach too much. He explained the striker likes to play the game in an 'elegant, entertaining` fashion and he even finds shooting 'ugly`. Despite his lone wolf instinct polarising opinions, many cannot argue with the sheer class he possesses. Bar Dennis Bergkamp, Berbatov undoubtedly boasts the best first touch the Premier League has seen and his eye for goal and all round quality makes him Fulham`s biggest dangerman.
Dimitar Berbatov`s successful career started out at CSKA Sofia, where he joined The Armymen aged just 17, following in the footsteps of his father who also played for the club. His impressive goalscoring talents quickly attracted attention from Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen, who made their move in January 2001 after Berbatov scored nine goals in eleven games at the beginning of the 2000/2001 season. Leverkusen paid €1.3 million to sign the striker, and whilst his career in Germany started slowly he regularly shone in the Champions League, helping his side knock Man United out of the Champions League semi-finals in April 2002.
His Leverkusen career continued to flourish as he finished up with 69 league goals in 154 appearances for the German side. It was eventually Tottenham who managed to snap up the striker, signing him for £10.9 million in 2006, making him the most expensive Bulgarian footballer ever. It was Martin Jol, now Berbatov`s manager at Fulham, who signed the expansive striker and his stay at Spurs divided many views with some labelling him 'Berbagod`, some 'Berbaflop`. He scored 23 goals in his opening season, which he matched again in 2007/2008. He scored a total of 27 league goals in 70 appearances for Spurs and after months of speculation linking him with a move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2008, Sir Alex Ferguson finally got his man.
He struck up an effective partnership with Wayne Rooney in his debut season, helping his side to win the title, finishing with 14 goals. Further success was to follow in 2010/2011 as the Bulgarian scored 20 league goals to claim the Golden Boot jointly with Man City`s Carlos Tevez. The emergence of Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez soon left Berbatov further down the pecking order at United, and this summer he made the decision to reunite with Jol at Fulham.
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