Dimitar Berbatov is one of the finest strikers that has ever played in the English Premier League but while at Tottenham and Manchester United, he was always criticized for being too sluggish or lazy.
Contrary to criticism from some of the supporters of the clubs he has played for in the Premier League, the Bulgarian football legend believes that he was being smart with his style of play which was seen as a lazy style of football.
The Bulgaria all-time highest goal scorer who is now retired from professional football came to the Premier League from German Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in 2006.
He joined Tottenham Hotspur where he spent just two years at the club, scoring 27 goals in 70 appearances. Afterwards, he joined Manchester United where he played 108 times in 4 years and scored 48 goals before he left in 2012 to join Fulham.
Despite his fair goal scoring ratio at Manchester United, fans were never tired of criticising him whenever he is having a bad matchday. The fans mostly assume that the football icon who is now 39-year-old was not doing enough for the club.
Berbatov told BBC Radio 5 Live that his assumed laziness on the field of play was a strategy to give defenders of the opposing teams a false sense of security.
The former Manchester United star took his time to analyse how he operated on the field of play which many people didn’t understand that he was highly calculative during his playing days in the Premier League.
Everybody is different, Berbatov Says
Berbatov lamented that it was not only the fans that didn’t understand his style of play but even his teammates sometimes feel he wasn’t doing enough to help the team.
“Everybody is different in the way they see the game and play. My difference was that sometimes you would see I might not be into the game but at the same time I was scanning the pitch to see where to position myself at the right moment, at the right time in a pocket of space, and you can give me the ball so that I have more time to myself and not have someone on my back”, he said.
“Some people don’t understand it, but if you are clever in your head, even if you are slow in speed, you can still be quick. You can position yourself better and be even more useful to your team.”
“But I was running in my head. And when I see someone in a better position than me I always give the ball. No selfishness. In the end, we win and lose together.
“It seems a bit strange but in every team, I have been in, you see my style of play, and sometimes fans and payers don’t understand that and they become a bit afraid of it – like I am not helping and not good for the team. But after a while, you get used to it because this style can bring results.”
The former Manchester United star is now enjoying family life with his wife, Elena and his two daughters Dea and Elia. He is also engaged in a lot of media appearances and overseeing his “Dimitar Berbatov Foundation”.