“It doesn’t matter who was against him – Ronny, Rooney, me – doesn’t matter. Everybody got kicked.”
Dimitar Berbatov has been reflecting on his arrival at Manchester United 10 years ago. The Bulgarian forward joined United from Tottenham Hotspur on September 1, 2008, in a transfer worth just over £30m. Newly-rich Manchester City also submitted a deadline day bid for Berbatov. But he had his heart set on joining Alex Ferguson’s team, and it’s easy to see why.
United were the reigning Premier League and European champions and had a squad packed full of world-class players, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Paul Scholes.
Berbatov has said that it was a dream to join such a talented squad and a prestigious club. The former Monaco forward has been speaking about some of his ex-Man United teammates and playing under Alex Ferguson.
Vidic gets a special mention from him. “He was a good joker; his sense of humour was so funny,” Berbatov says about the former United captain.
“If you don’t know him then you’re gonna take it personally, but Vida was so funny. I still keep in touch with him, great guy.”
According to Berbatov, the Serbian defender was the most difficult opponent he faced in training at the club.
“Training against him every day, it wasn’t hard… it was a nightmare!” Berbatov recounts in an interesting interview on United’s official website.
“You know you have teams and players you don’t wanna face? You see the opposition team and think to yourself: Oh, not today. I’m not in the mood for this today. Vida was one of those guys.
“When I was with Spurs, he was always a nightmare. Then in training when I went to United, it was like war. It doesn’t matter who was against him – Ronny, Rooney, me – doesn’t matter. Everybody got kicked. Then when we played the games I was so relieved that he was in my team! He was always coming in after the game, bleeding, bump on the head, but you could see it was always for the team. He put his head there for the team.”
Berbatov went on to make 159 appearances for United, scoring 56 goals. During his time at Old Trafford, he won two Premier League titles, the League Cup and the Club World Cup.
He’s remembered as a cult hero at United, particularly for his hat-trick against Liverpool in 2010.