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Q&A: Berbatov On Missing Final and Sharing Golden Boot With Tevez

Here is the full transcript of the interview between Naiden Todorov with the newspaper, “24 Chasa” in Bulgaria.

Naiden Todorov: Mitko, how was the ride on the number 19 bus in Manchester?

Dimitar Berbatov: Great. It was cool. Very nicely done. Except that the weather was bad. But that didn’t prevent so many people coming out in the streets to celebrate the title with us. It was great. I had never been a part of a parade. Only Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes from all of us had experienced the one in 1999 after winning the treble. Now the rest of us have had an amazing experience with the historic 19th title.

NT: Although you are often attacked from all sides, this time all the fans stood by your side. They sang for you, chanting your name, screaming that they love you and that you should stay. How did you feel listening to them?

DB: These things make me feel uncomfortable. I’m not used to it. I really was uncomfortable, but it made me feel proud that people appreciate what we did this year. And what I did to help the team. I guess every player becomes a little uncomfortable. We look at the reactions as the fans start to sing for someone and everyone starts making fun of them. But it is cool.

NT: But in the case and your team-mate Patrice Evra, he did not stop singing for you…

DB: He didn’t stop. At the end he had lost his voice. But he is funny because he thinks he can sing, so don’t let him near the microphone!

NT: For the other players, Evra shouted their names, but he was composing songs about you..

DB: (Laughs). This is because we are close and we are great friends. So he’s always fooling about. It was a little uncomfortable, but very cool.

NT: You are the first Bulgarian with the “Golden Boot” in England – what does it means for you?

DB: I am very proud of that fact. I come from a small country. To become the top scorer in England with the “Golden Boot” is a great thing for me. I’ll cherish it forever.

NT: Which of all your goals is the most valuable to you?

DB: Of course, we can not forget the hattrick against Liverpool. I hope this will remain in the hearts of all United fans. To score three goals against Liverpool is a great achievement. And fans constantly remind me so I can’t forget it. Especially the second goal. It ranks amongst the finest I’ve scored. And I was very proud after that match.

NT: Were you scared in the last game against Blackpool that Tevez was going to score and you would miss out on the Golden Boot?

DB: I am thrilled that he didn’t score as Carlos was I didn’t, I guess. I watched the games afterwards. He kept missing and I kept missing. So it’s fair that we split the prize. But what matters at the end is that we won a record 19th title with Manchester United and that a Bulgarian is the top striker in England. What more can I want? I really felt very happy after the title was won. Things ran perfectly.

NT: Let us clarify what a big disappointment it was last weekend. There were lots of stories written about it. Where were you watching the Champions League final at Wembley?

DB: It is normal for people to come up stories after not seeing me in the stands. It is normal to think that I was not the stadium. The truth is that I was in the locker room watching the game on TV. I was just disappointed and I was ashamed that I was not in the team. So I did not want people to see me how I was and how sad I was, because I hide my emotions. So I preferred to stay alone and watch the match from the dressing room.

NT: When did you realise that you weren’t in the squad? At the official training you looked very happy…

DB: Before the match. The manager then tells the group and notified me about his decision. I was very disappointed but you can not do anything. You must accept it. So I stayed in the locker room, watched the match. After the loss I remained in the locker room and waited to see what Sir Alex said.

NT: Did you talk to Sir Alex alone after the game?

DB: No. It was his personal decision. I was really disappointed and it hurt a lot. But I could not do anything. Sorry that Bulgaria could not see me in the finals, sorry that Bulgaria couldn’t be happy, or cry with me. Everyone now wonders why the team didn’t do well or why Berbatov was not in the squad, but I already told you why, it is the decision of the coach. But there’s always next year. While playing football, one of my fights will be to win this cup. And basically I have to take it. But the biggest disappointment in general was that after the match I went to the bus and one person passed by me. I was thinking about something and I looked up at the person and saw he was carrying the Cup. It was like I was in a movie. I wanted to pass by and walk casually so that he didn’t suspect that I wanted to take it so much!

NT: Do you believe that you will get a fourth chance for the Champions League final?

DB: Sure. Why would I not believe? Evra has played in four finals. And before the game told me: “Now if I lose the final third …” Because he had lost two and won one. Although I’d give everything to be in his place, at least to have won one Cup. I will give everything to have another chance. But even if it did not happen, at least I had the opportunity to play in two finals. There’s no room for complaints.

NT: Did your future plans change after May 28, 2011?

DB: No. I am a player of Manchester United and I am happy to fulfil the contract. Everyone has difficulties but I’ve always fought and will fight for a starting place. If I was a man who gave in I would never have come to Manchester United. I never quit in life. July 4th is coming and it will start all over again – fight for all the titles, the fight for a starting role.

NT: After the final at Wembley BBC wrote, “Thank you and goodbye, Dimitar”…

DB: It is normal to write that after having thought that I was not at the stadium. After the match, Sir Alex also said that I was in the stadium. Why wouldn’t people believe him? Why would you think he is lying? I’m a Manchester United player and I am happy to fulfil my contract. At United, I have many happy moments, we became champions for the 19th time. And after 19 comes 20. Right? To become a champion and top scorer does not mean we should stop here. I want more success. The team is great and there are lots of games for everyone.

NT: In an interview after last season I wished you 20 goals. Now that you will stay and fight, I wish you 30 for the 2011/2012 season at Manchester United.

DB: (Laughs). It’s true I wanted 20 goals. Obviously when a person believes in himself, things happen. One day I was talking with my friends. They were watching a film about positive thinking in the life of this man. I sat and watched it. I sat down and wrote on a piece of paper ‘I want to be top scorer for England, to take the “Golden Boot” and become champions.’ Well, I also wrote about the Champions League, but that did not happen. But I strongly believe that I will become a scorer and we will be champions. I wanted us to win the Champions League and we didn’t. But this does not reduce my enthusiasm for next year.

NT: How about your contract with Manchester United?

DB: There’s another year on it. And I’m excited to stay despite the disappointment suffered. The pain of Wembley could not stop me. It motivates me.

NT: So, Sir Alex has not come to tell you to leave?

DB: No, no. I have my contract and my desire is to stay. This is Manchester United. Competition for places often creates even more good performances on the pitch.

NT: Many Bulgarians have reacted emotionally after Wembley and their view is that you shouldn’t play for Manchester United any more…

DB: I’ve always aspired to higher goals. And my arrival in Manchester was the highest step for me. After Manchester United, everything is a step down. I’m a footballer for Manchester United and my desire is to stay to help win the 20th title.

Thanks to Inna Vettel for some of the translation

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. KingOfStretfordEnd says:

    YOOHOO. Berba bashers? Where art thou!

    It’s official. I’m in love with this man.

  2. berbatov9 says:


    if he stay or not sold in the summer…Berba will win PFA player of the year next season…and also if that lovable FA didnt f*** our club as usual….

    Go on Berba…use this dissappoinment and humiliation to explode and silent everyone/prove them wrong especially (i am sorry for saying this) Sir Alex

  3. FULLARD says:


  4. Marq says:

    Like Costas said, I believe Berbatov could have gotten 30 if he wasn’t sacrificed to get Rooney’s form back.

    And do you know what was most cruel part? Just as Rooney got his form back, he had to go do something stupid and get banned for the FA Cup Semi-Final, resulting in Berbatov playing a lone striker role that he never got used to playing, and cue the bad miss and everything went downhill from there. So it was a double whammy from Rooney to Berbatov.

    If there was anyone who should stand up for Berbatov, Rooney should be the first and the loudest. But have we heard anything from him yet?

  5. StatesideAussie says:

    @Giles Oakley and Balaji Sivaraman … excellent posts, both of you. Giles, it is difficult for any of us on here to criticize Sir Alex Ferguson. Difficult for any individual to write the words, because all of us love him so much and are so greatly indebted to him. Difficult too, because even when someone does criticize, others are so often intolerant of it. Yet your criticism is measured, fair, and I believe, warranted. As one of those who believes progress comes largely through criticism — not slagging off, but honest critical assessment of one’s self, and by others — I think you have said what needed to be said. Cheers!

  6. gg says:

    what class nuff said

  7. AnomanderRake says:

    I rarely question the Boss’ decisions. Even If I think a decision is wrong. I know in my gut that Fergie will eventually prove me wrong.

    After I saw the bench, I knew Fergie made a mistake.
    Berbatov should ave been on the bench instead of Owen. I think that has to be the first mistake Fergie made all season, but a mistake nonetheless.

    Berba is class…
    The way some fans have treated him, the way mutv treated him with their stupid videos during the awrards ceremony, I have to say, I dont think we deserve Berbatov.

  8. Utdforever says:

    Berbatov would never leave. Rooney would.

    There’s the difference. The man is class.

    @Balagi re your thoughts to Berbs becoming Scholes’ successor.. the thing about that is that for me Berbs doesn’t have the legs to work in that midfield role.

    For me, and if I were manager (massive LOL on that) I would have Rooney playing Scholesy’s position (which I’ve said for a bloody age now) and I’d sign De Rossi this summer to play next to him (or even put Fletch there) and I’d play Berbs just behind the striker ( cue one Chicharito) in a 4-4-1-1 system.

    Let’s get into a little fantasy for a second.. this would be my Utd team next year. My summer signings would be De Gea, De Rossi, that Varane defender/defensive mid we’ve been linked with and A.Young would also make a good addition although I fail to see what would happen to Nani if that’s the case. Those 4 players.. definately the initial 3 (of which 2 look very close to happening).

    ——————–De Gea————————–


    Valencia-Rooney-De Rossi/Fletch-Park/Young/Nani


    Pretty crazy right? You know it makes sense!! LOL… good day ladies and gents

  9. Ash says:

    After seeing this interview i lover berba more.Class act.This is what manchester united is about.
    He will win a champions league with us.And don’t be surprised if sir alex signs him for 2 more years.We need class athlete like him.
    He has fulfilled his price tag.Fuck off berba haters.

  10. StatesideAussie says:

    AnomanderRake … I am not sure Berbatov should have been on the bench instead of Owen. I think he should have been on the bench instead of Anderson.

    We’re allowed 7 subs, of which three can play. One is always going to be backup goalie, and it makes sense to have at least one specialist central defender. That leaves 5. On Saturday, SAF decided that 4 of those should be midfielders: Scholes, Nani, Anderson and Fletcher, leaving room for only one striker. But of those 4 MFs, what was their intended purpose? Scholes and Nani are sort of obvious, I think. But out of Fletcher and Anderson: you would have to think Fletcher, despite his fitness problems, was fot enough for 15-25 minutes, or the boss wouldn’t have had him. Since we could only use a maximum of 3 of the 4, it comes down to: why have both Fletch and Ando on the bench? What can one offer that the other can’t? They are both energy players who’s primary job is to close down the opposition. And of the two, I would rather use Fletch than Anderson, but even if someone thinks differently, why have both?

    But by choosing both, we denied ourselves the possibility of using Berbatov, which means we also denied oursolves the opportunity to change our gameplan — to give Barcelona something different to think about if that become worth trying (which, in fact, it did). So to me, it isn’t a case of “Owen or The Berb”? I get why Owen was there, and agree that was a good idea. The real question is, why Anderson instead of Berbatov? Why stack the bench with more midfielders than you can possibly use, when one of them offers nothing really different to the guy sitting next to him?

  11. willierednut says:

    Rooneys going nowhere ya fucking headers. I hope the Berb stays as well.

  12. Becky says:

    I don’t think there is anything that I could possible say after reading all these comments. They represent exactly how I feel about Berbatov. His technical skills drew me to Utd in the first place. Now I will be utterly pained if SAF says he does not want him. I cannot even write all I want to say cuz I will probably cry. So I will leave it at that and say to all of you well done on your support. At least some of us recognize technical ability. :)

    “princess is the sterotypical female “fan” who likes players because she fancies them .
    I see women havent progressed in the last 20 years judging by that.”

    I find the above comment very offensive even tho it was not directed at me. It reeks of ignorance quite frankly. I do not see why she is not allowed to have opinions on how hot a players is. I quite fancy Berbatov myself.

  13. Fred says:

    Berba handled the bad news very badly. I get that he’s an sensitive, emotional guy, but you can’t do what he did at Wembley. He can have no complaints that Ferguson didn’t speak to him. His reaction at Wembley might have just sealed his transfer from United, unfortunately.

  14. Marq says:


    Everyone can see you do not rate that guy. But I fail to see what he did that was considered a bad reaction.

  15. Fred says:

    Huh? Fucking hell, I wasn’t slagging him off. When you’re not on the bench, you sit with the rest of the squad in the stands. It’s basic fucking respect for your club, manager and teammates. He reacted the wrong way. I know it hurt, but he should have shown a bit of humility and solidarity with his team when they needed it most.

  16. jonathan says:

    He’s obviously a confidence player, but let’s use that to our advantage and support him openly next season. Imagine how well he’ll be playing when the fans begin doing more cheering and singing for him.

  17. scan74 says:

    can fully understand his actions we aint all built the same must have been toatally devestating on a proffesional level I dont think it was a case of dummy out more a savage blow to the fellas pride in front of the lads

    have to say in the days after he has only gone up in in my estimation has only been respectful and has remained completely dignifed throughout

    if he does stay i will be 100 % behind him as that is the least he deserves with the way he has handled this

    be for i forget just to say a hello to Mr Giles Oakley pretty new to the site and was put onto your pieces by cedars devils

    fantastic read sir really enjoyed them love forward to many more sir

  18. Mahmud says:

    After reading the interview i have the belive in the Golden boot winner. Love you more. BERBATOV 4 REAL.

  19. portugueseprincess says:

    @Becky, besides being an amazing player with skills that makes any football fan go weak in their knees our Berba is hotmso whats not to love? :)

    People like @club1stnotplayer I just ignore them…whats the point in feeding trolls??

    I love you my Bulgarian God. *Kanye Shrug*

  20. Heretic says:

    All I can say after reading that is that I have more respect for Berba now than ever. Not many players would be able to take being dropped from the squad for the Champions League final in their stride. Many would want out after that. (Even Ruud wanted to go after being left on the bench for the League Cup final) I hope Berba stays because we need more people like that at United!

  21. Samuel - united WE stand says:

    If he had some sort of acceleration and pace + drive, i reckon he’d be one of the world’s best, technically he is superior than most football players, hope he is offered a new contract, he is a great man and hopefully he’ll bang in even more goals next season.

  22. tomas says:

    As Ron Burgundy would say, “Stay classy Dimitar Berbatov”. Class act all the way. A luxury if he wants to stick around as the 3rd striker.

  23. eddieTheRed says:

    All I can say is: “well said Dimitar; nineteen is gone; roll on number 20!”

  24. Red says:

    He’s a class act but not the coach and club!

  25. RT says:

    It was however a very odd decision taken by SAF to leave him out, no injury or whatever, just drop him like this, and the result was same as in 2009 in the end, we lost, may be playing Berbatov instead of Chicha on that night could have changed the way the game went on


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