Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Reports of Berbatov leaving Spurs have been rife and Sky recently added fuel to the fire by saying that the Bulgarian fancies a move to Manchester United. The quote was taken from an interview Berbatov gave to a Bulgarian newspaper. Many media sources chose the quote wherein Berbatov says that he likes the way Manchester United play but opted to leave out other parts of the interview where Dimitar reiterates his committment to Spurs. Here we reproduce the whoe interview for your benefit:
Dimitar, this is the third year in which we meet during the spring; last year, you were excited about the start of your first season in Tottenham Hotspur, it seems now that you are about to join Man Utd.
Now I am thinking about the return match against Belarus and after that I'll have a rest. After that we'll see...
Still, are you close to United?
Yes, in fact I am. They are now on the TV and I am very close to it. That's how close I am to them.
Do you want to play in Man Utd?
I am a happy man in Tottenham. The club gives me everything I need to feel nice with them, and I actually do. As to United, of course I like Sir Alex's team. Their style is attacking and pleasant to watch, and it coincides with my own style of playing football. Giggs, Scholes and Rooney are fantastic players and that fast guy Cristiano Ronaldo on the right side is a magician with the ball, he plays football from another planet. Of course, it would be a pleasure for me to play with these guys; they simply know how to have fun on the pitch.
Have you been contacted by Ferguson already?
No, I haven't.
When will you be able to name yourself a United player?
I think I answered this question already. I'm a happy man in my present club.
How did you adapt to the your new team Tottenham Hotspur?
I was warmly welcomed the guys accepted me as one of them from the first. I haven't felt isolated from the team even for a second. In the changing room at our stadium we have a sign which says: "There are no stars in Tottenham, the team is the big star." And this is what the atmosphere in the team is - we support and trust each other.
Has fame changed you?
I don't think so. Yeah, I like being famous, it's nice, but I haven't changed much.
Let's come home for a while. Do you think we'll qualify for Euro'08?
I believe we will. We have our chances, all we need is a little luck.
Has the atmosphere in the team changed since Stoichkov walked out and Stoilov came in?
The atmosphere is good, but it was good during Stoichkov's time as well. You see, now the coach is playing cards with the players... they are laughing, we groove together. My impressions of Stoilov are that he knows how to break the monotony of the training sessions. Obviously, he gained some good experience in the Champions League.
What were Stoichkov's mistakes?
I can't comment on his mistakes. He knows what he did wrong. Maybe he made too many enemies too fast and they turned him as black as sin. This reflected on the climate in the team. I can only say that Stoichkov treated the players well.
Can you surpass him as a player?
Hardly anybody will ever surpass Stoichkov on the pitch. He is the only Bulgarian who won European Champion Clubs' Cup with FC Barcelona, the Golden Ball of the France Football Magazine and many other football awards.
Yes, but a possible transfer in United can be your trampoline to higher goals.
For now this is in the sphere of possibilities. My goal for now is to score more goals for the national team than he did. I'm 26 now and I have a lot of time in front of me. If I play well, the cups will come naturally.
More on Berbatov...here we reproduce an article from The Times of London:
Mother’s pride after Berbatov decides to spearhead campaign
by Robert Nurden
As fans of Tottenham Hotspur marvelled at the breathtaking skills of Dimitar Berbatov, their silky striker, last season, they could hardly have failed to notice that he was wearing a distinctive armband. In the Bulgarian national colours of white, green and red, it sported the slogan: “You are not alone”. Berbatov, the new hero of White Hart Lane, was directing his message to the five Bulgarian nurses who have been condemned to death in Libya on charges of injecting 400 children in a hospital in Benghazi with the HIV virus.
The women, all of whom are married with children in Bulgaria, were arrested eight years ago and put in jail to await trial.It is widely acknowledged that the Libyan authorities are seeking scapegoats for what is seen as poor hygiene in the management of blood transfusions at the hospital. Yet despite international outrage, in December last year the original verdict in 2004 was upheld. A final appeal is due to open soon.
What the Tottenham fans would not be aware of is the woman behind the man: Berbatov’s mother, Margarita. She is spearheading the campaign to release the women — Kristiyana Valtcheva, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Valya Chervenyashka and Snezhana Dimitrova — and has made frequent appearances on national television and in the press.
I met Margarita in her office at Blagoevgrad city hospital, where she is the head of nursing. Elegant and poised, the former athlete, handball star and renowned beauty said: “I had no idea Mitko [Dimitar’s nickname] was going to join the campaign. It was his idea, but he has always supported my work. I was watching him play for Spurs one weekend and there was the armband. It made me so proud.”
Margarita attempted to get the whole Tottenham team to wear the insignia but was overruled by club officials. “The players still lent their support and so did the Spurs fans,” she said. “I would like to thank them and ask them to continue to give publicity to this terrible episode.“It was natural for Mitko to wear the band. He is a very compassionate man and football is not the only thing in his life. Whenever he is here, he comes with me to the orphanage I support and brings them gifts.
Now the children all have shoes because of him. They love him.” Tottenham fans got the first hint that Berbatov was not only highly talented but also different when he scored in the 1-0 win away to Bayer Leverkusen, his former club, in their Uefa Cup group B match in November. Instead of indulging in wild celebrations — and not wanting to hurt the sensibilities of the home team’s fans — he parried the hugs and embraces of his new teammates and hurried back to the halfway line. A rare example of thoughtfulness in the modern game.
Berbatov once indicated that, had it not been for football, he could have drifted into the Bulgarian underworld. He learnt English by watching the Godfather films and the lure of the seamier side of life — as well as a love for nightclubbing that he is said to have enjoyed in Germany — seems to have passed. He spends his leisure hours sketching and seems shy and modest in front of the television cameras. Yet he is known in Bulgarian footballing circles as “the devil with the angel’s face” and was recently voted among the country’s ten Hottest Men of the Year.
However, his brilliance appears to have had an unfortunate impact on the career of his younger brother, Asen. Margarita hinted that Asen could not cope with the comparisons and quit the game five months ago. Tottenham, though, suit Dimitar’s style perfectly. “He told me he loves the club and is happy to be a team player as well as a showman,” she said.The walls of Margarita’s office show several pictures of Dimitar, whose goalscoring has attracted the attentions of Manchester United. On the table between us is a newspaper bearing the headline “Berbatov now worth 57 million euros”. Above her desk is a younger Dimitar, looking cool in shades, relaxing with friends, wearing the shirts of Pirin Blagoevgrad, CSKA Sofia, Bayer Leverkusen and Tottenham. There is one of him hugging his mother after being awarded one of many Bulgarian player-of-the-year awards and a portrait of him on a Unicef calendar as the country’s goodwill ambassador.
The conversation becomes serious as Margarita returns to the campaign theme. She says that her efforts go back several years, long before the death sentences were handed down. She gathered thousands of signatures but failed to attract sustained support from the Bulgarian Government. The fact that Bulgaria joined the EU in January will, Margarita believes, help the cause.
Last month there were signs of hope. A Libyan court acquitted the nurses of charges of slandering policemen by protesting that their “confessions” had been extracted under torture. At a hearing lasting less than a minute, the judge announced they had been found not guilty. The accused, who include Ashraf al-Hajuj, a Palestinian intern, said that their confessions had been forced from them by beatings, electric shocks and being threatened with dogs.
Yet Margarita admitted that the campaign had gone “worryingly quiet” in recent weeks, despite a fundraising concert for the nurses given by George Michael in Sofia a few days before we spoke and sustained backing from Bianca Jagger. “I cannot sit down and do nothing,” Margarita said. “I have no idea what is going to happen. For no apparent reason, the Libyans released one Bulgarian nurse [in 1999]. I met her and she said it was just chance that it was her they released. “Because of the unpredictability of the Libyan authorities, I am afraid that anything could happen. Anything that Mitko and his footballing friends in England can do will help.”
While admitting to an admiration of Manchester United, Dimitar Berbatov, the Bulgaria striker, emphasised yesterday that he will not be leaving Tottenham Hotspur after only one season (Russell Kempson writes). It would appear that Martin Jol, the head coach, can rest easy. Berbatov scored 23 goals in all competitions as his club finished fifth in the Barclays Premiership. “I am a happy man at Tottenham,” he said. “The club gives me everything I need to feel nice with them and I actually do. “As for United, of course I like Sir Alex’s team. Their style is attacking and it coincides with my own style. Of course it would be a pleasure for me to play with these guys.”