Dimitar Berbatov has revealed he wasn’t supposed to make his Manchester United debut against Liverpool back in 2008, while also joking that Sir Alex Ferguson broke his first ever promise to the former striker.
Having enjoyed a successful spell at Tottenham, the Bulgarian made a £30.75million switch to Old Trafford on deadline day of the 2008 summer transfer window, joining the likes of Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in United’s attacking ranks.
The move was clouded by controversy with Spurs unhappy with the way the Red Devils approached Berbatov, while Manchester City tried to steal him from under their city rivals’ noses by submitting a bid in the dying hours of the window.
Their bid was accepted, however the then 27-year-old chose to move to the red half of Manchester and in an interview on Man United‘s official club website, relayed on The Mirror, Berbatov has revealed how he was promised time off after completing an exhausting transfer, but was never actually given it.
“Liverpool was the team we were trying to surpass on league titles when I got to Old Trafford. They had 18, we had 17”, he recalled.
“Sir Alex was with me when we were finalising the transfer and it was so last minute, so worrying that it was happening so late, that he said: ‘Berba, I know it’s stressful, what you’re going through, but, when we finish this, I promise you can have a week’s break so you can get yourself together.’
“Okay, that works.
“As soon as I signed, it was: ‘Okay, get ready. Next game is Liverpool.’ In my head, I’m like: Where’s my one-week break?!
“But that was all fine. As the game got closer, I could feel the excitement, the nerves, the tension.
“You start to get more and more knowledge about the rivalry and the history between the two clubs. The expectation of winning the game, of performing, it’s important.
“This is all building up until, on the day of the game, I stepped out on the pitch for the first time… and it was something new.”
Despite providing the assist for Tevez to open the scoring after only three minutes, Berbatov’s United debut ended in disappointment as his new team fell to a 2-1 defeat at Anfield.
Ferguson’s side would go on to have the last laugh, though, as they pipped their rivals to the Premier League title at the end of that season to move level with them on championships won.
That was the first of three Premier Leagues he won in four years with the club, a spell which also saw him score 56 goals in 149 games and pick up two League Cups, a FIFA Club World Cup and three Community Shields.
Elsewhere, one of Berbatov’s former teammates, Paul Scholes, has named the only team that ever tried to sign him during his glorious Man United career.
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