Old Trafford man is at the crossroads of his United career but will he take the right path or be escorted to the exit?
So which side of the fence do you fall? Dimitar Berbatov the cultured footballer who’s mastery of the game is something to behold or Dimitar Berbatov the arrogant forward who plods along in a sedate pace waiting for the perfect opportunity to display his talents only to get tackled leaving the Old Trafford man flaying his arms in the air as if to say “who said you could take the ball from me?”. The truth is that the Bulgarian is a bit of both and in many ways that is what makes him all the more frustrating to observe.
Its hard to like Dimitar sometimes. I am not a United fan but I can imagine that his mannerisms must at times infuriate the fans. The petulance, the at times downright lazy displays, the persistent barracking of anyone in earshot if someone has the temerity to tackle him. Then if you take this behaviour and juxtapose it with the attitude and ability shown by Wayne Rooney and you have almost polar opposites.
Whilst Wayne Rooney scores goals at will and many recall the way Cristiano Ronaldo did just the same in his Man United heyday, Berbatov is fighting a losing battle for recognition. First off the 29 year old had to live up to his £30m price tag and then had to adjust to being a small fish in a big pond and a totally different playing system to the one he had enjoyed at White Hart Lane the former Bayer Leverkusen also had to get used to having to win his place in a team where he couldn’t so easily walk into and maintain a place in the starting eleven.
There is no doubting that a Berbatov in full flow is a joy to watch. Yesterday’s performance against Fulham was a marvelous example of just what he is capable of. Putting Wayne Rooney into goalscoring positions, showing deft touches and using his footballing brain to its fullest and completing the show with a late goal to boot. However come next weekend when Liverpool are the visitors to Old Trafford what Berbatov will turn up?
He is a confidence player who needs everything to go right for him from the first whistle in order for him to produce the kind of performances that Sir Alex forked out for him in the first place. If a pass goes awry or he isn’t found early on or losses possession in a quality position then he as a player is visibly affected.
So in many ways the forward is a luxury that Ferguson comes to decide he can’t afford to keep. Seeing Wayne Rooney scoring goals and producing consistent levels of form with alarming ease only serves to show just how much more reliable an option the England man is over Dimitar Berbatov. There are many who believed that it should have been Berbatov who was offloaded last summer and not Carlos Tevez and looking at what the Argentine has achieved at Man City only furthers that argument.
In many ways the rest of the season is a crucial opportunity for the player to prove himself to his boss and indeed the fans who are also very much undecided about whether he has a future at the club. It is in Europe where Berbatov should really have been a success, its the type of pace and style of football that is ideally suited to his attributes but even in the Champions League his form has been lax and for that precise reason Ferguson has opted to not play the Bulgarian international in Europe.