Dimitar Berbatov spent four seasons at Manchester United but his greatest season was in 2010-11 when his 20 goals helped us win the record breaking 19th title. He had some big moments that season, like the two goals he scored against Blackpool to help us come back from 2-0 down or the 88th minute winner for our 10 men against Bolton, but the best of the lot was his performance against Liverpool.
Speaking to ESPN, Berbatov has discussed his hattrick against Liverpool that season which allowed us to beat them 3-2.
That was one of my best seasons in football, 2010-11. I kept scoring hat tricks. I have those balls at my home, all signed by the United players. I treasure them.
Football players score hat tricks all the time. But this one was special because it was against Liverpool. The second goal was really special. Nani crossed the ball and I saw [Rooney] in front of me. I saw by his body movement that he was going to try and go for the ball. I said: ‘Wazza, leave it. Wazza! Wazza! It’s me.’ He left it and afterwards he was very proud as he said: ‘I left you the ball.’
I controlled the ball with my thigh. I would be lying if I said I did this intentionally. The ball was falling and my thigh was the best option. The decisions were made in nanoseconds. It was automatic; I didn’t think about it. And the way it went in off the bar and down made it more cool. By the roar of the crowd, I knew it was in.
Berbatov has a great amount of respect for Sir Alex Ferguson and has revealed how the legendary manager used to brag about his own goalscoring record to the Bulgarian.
When he walked into the room, people would stop talking. He commanded so much respect and attention because of all the success he’d had. He was good with words, probably from all the books he read. I’d go to his office and he’d have Napoleon’s biography on the table.
He bragged about what a good striker he was to me. He’d say: ‘Berba, I was so good, I scored so many goals!’ We laughed. He knew how to speak to people in their language, even if he was telling them that they were not going to play.
He’d say it in a way that you didn’t feel it was a personal criticism. He’d say: ‘You’re not playing today but you’re playing next week.’ And you’d think: ‘Maybe he’s right.’ You need to have this psychology in football these days because there will always be someone saying: ‘What the fuck? I deserve to play!’
Sport is healthy but it can be the opposite of that at the top level. You have so many injuries; you put your body through so much. You wake up at 2 in the morning and you cannot move. Top-level football gives you fame and money, but it takes away a lot, too.