The dictionary has many meanings to the word frustration but perhaps this one is the best that can be attached to Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov. It reads this: “A feeling of dissatisfaction that results when your expectations are not realised.” This is probably what fans would say and when a striker comes to one of the biggest clubs in the world, with a £30m price tag surrounding him, they are fully entitled to feel that Berbatov hasn’t fulfilled all the talent and potential which he has locked up somewhere.
Berba is a fascinating character. There are times when he can produce moments of magic. Remember his sublime skill against West Ham in a Premiership game at Old Trafford last season? I happen to think that he has the best touch out of every single footballer in the Premiership- but that doesn’t really set you apart from the rest. It is common knowledge now that he is labeled as lazy, not hard-working enough and doesn’t seem to have grasped his role on the pitch.
Having said all that, he looked a totally different player in his Tottenham days so why can’t he and Wayne Rooney form a devastating partnership? Incidentally both Rooney and Berbatov have played the same number of league games this season, 29, but Rooney has scored 14 more goals than the Bulgarian. However, Berbatov has better shots on target and goal ratio than Wazza. Interesting. Even then, it is clear that on the pitch – where it all matters – Rooney contributes much more to the team. Assists, work ethic, passing and types of goals scored all fall in the Englishman’s favour.
It has recently been reported that Sir Alex Ferguson is losing patience with Berbatov and could consider selling him to allow a new striker to come to Old Trafford this summer. The question is where would Berbatov go? The way he plays the game I believe Spain or Italy is the answer. It looks impossible that he would end up at another top four club and where else would he go in England? His attributes suit the foreign game and the intensity on those leagues has increased so that wouldn’t be a problem for a player with Premiership experience. If he does go he will be sold at a loss because United know that no club is going to pay £30m for him.
There is every possibility that Berbatov would have felt at his lowest when a half-fit Rooney was chosen ahead of him in United’s massive Champions League match against Bayern Munich recently, and maybe even he was left considering his options. He has shown that he can score goals, which we can forget is the number one job a striker, but the question marks continuously remain about his value to the team because he rightly or wrongly gets compared to an all-action striker.
Football wouldn’t be the same if Berbatov scored the winner in tomorrow’s massive Manchester derby, but will that be enough to save his United career? Either way, it won’t be surprising if someone said the words “frustration” and “Berbatov” in the same sentence one more time this season.
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