Dimitar Berbatov

Berbatov’s greatest Premier League hits

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Dimitar Berbatov announced his retirement on Thursday, closing out a two-decade professional career.

The Bulgarian striker never flashed much pace in the helter skelter Premier League. But it didn’t matter. Over his eight seasons in the Premier League, Berbatov may go down in history for the greatest technical player in the Premier League era. I mean, just look at this first touch!

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Look at how nonchalantly Berbatov brought down that 50-yard bomb from across the field, controlling it as if he was just juggling the ball three feet in the air to himself. That slow, methodical play was evident for Berbatov across his time with Tottenham, Manchester United and Fulham, but it didn’t matter, because he always ended up in the right place in the box to score, or he could pick out a pass to set up a teammate. He even had a few dribbling tricks.

Berbatov finished his Premier League career with 94 goals and 40 assists in 229 games. He joined Tottenham after a stellar five-year run with Bayer Leverkusen in 2006 and immediately became a fan favorite. In 2008, he made a then-Man United record transfer to Old Trafford for around a reported $38 million. After four seasons and 48 league goals, Berbatov moved to Fulham for another couple of years before heading back abroad.

During his time in England, Berbatov left crowds stunned with stupendous goals, flicks and tricks. Here’s a collection of some of his best highlights.

When will Ed Woodward be held accountable for Man United failures?

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Six seasons, five managers, three Champions League qualifications, zero Premier League titles.

That is the Manchester United story since they last trimphed over the English top flight in Sir Alex Ferguson‘s final season as Red Devils boss.

The leadership has been chopped and changed many times over, but there is one constant: Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who ascended to his current role in 2012 and was made top operational executive a year later after the departure of David Gill. Since Woodward took full control of the club, Manchester United has spiraled completely out of control, with the luster of 13 Premier League titles almost fully rusted away.

While Manchester United has collected three trophies under his watch, the two most coveted – the Premier League and Champions League titles – have eluded the storied club, instead settling for an FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League title (plus two Community Shields, as Jose Mourinho would tell you).

Still, Woodward has somehow escaped heavy criticism for his rocky tenure, with the first-team managers – far more publicly accountable figures than club executives – taking the brunt of the flak for losing streaks, negative tactics, mediocre youth development, and shambolic defending. Yet Woodward remains unscathed, free of full-scale scrutiny while everything he touches turns to ash.

Woodward’s history in the transfer market has been downright abysmal. Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria, Fred, Eric Bailly, and Luke Shaw have all been purchased for enormous sums of money during Woodward’s time in charge, yet none of them have lived up to their financial burdens. It is impossible to truly know what Woodward’s exact role is in the transfer dealings, but as the top operational executive at the club, he is responsible for the consistent failures whether he has taken a hands-on approach or has delegated most of the duties to others. It’s time the buck stops at the top.

Since the start of the 2013 summer transfer window, Manchester United has shelled out a gargantuan $712 million in transfer net spend and the Red Devils are no closer to challenging for the Premier League title than when they began their quest to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. After losing to relegated Cardiff City to close out the 2018/19 Premier League season with little more than a whimper, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said it would take “a long time” for Manchester United to be in a position to compete for the league title. The Notwegian boss even dared to warn supporters to temper their expectations; the Europa League would be a reasonable ambition for the time being. Those words from a Manchester United mouthpiece like Solskjaer are a brutal indictment of Woodward and his leadership of the club over the past few years.

When Sir Alex departed, the team admittedly needed an overhaul. The legendary boss somehow squeezed one last triumph out of an old and dilapidated squad, as if fans needed yet another reason to revere the greatest manager the game has ever seen. Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Dimitar Berbatov were all over 30 and on their way out of the club while David De Gea, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Rafael, Fabio, Jesse Lingard, Danny Welbeck, and Adnan Januzaj were all 22 years old or younger and looking for guidance and direction as they continued to develop.

Instead, they were met with chaos and instability, as David Moyes, Giggs, Louis Van Gaal, and Jose Mourinho all tried and failed to restore order to the club. None of the managers were given enough time to establish any sense of consistency, and it’s unclear whether any of them were good enough hires that things would have improved if given that luxury. Instead of embracing the period of transition, the club fell into a form of purgatory, hoping to maintain a steady ship while also understanding that things would not be the same. Woodward, a career accountant, may know what it takes to secure a lucrative sponsorship, but eventually they need the on-field results to match the claim of the world’s most popular club, or the financial leverage will wane.

While many players and managers have come and gone over the past few years, Woodward has remained the only constant figure, and the longer the club continues to rot, the more obvious his role in allowing the club to fester. Now, he wishes to bring on a technical director (see: Director of Football) to help with on-field decisions and player acquisitions, a smart choice in delegating the football responsibilities but also another hire to get right. And yet…he’s reportedly looking to hire Darren Fletcher, who literally retired as a player one week ago and has zero executive or managerial experience, in what feels like more of a PR move than anything of actual significance.

With this year’s sixth place finish – the club’s fourth finish outside the Premier League’s top four over the last six years – it is time fans direct their frustration and unhappiness further up the food chain. Ed Woodward must be held accountable for the failures of the club, or the glory days of (actually not that) long ago will become an even more distant memory with every passing year.

PL Golden Boot: Mane, Salah, Aubameyang all win with 22 goals

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For the first time in nearly a decade, there’s no singular winner of the Premier League’s Golden Boot.

Instead, the honor for most goals in the Premier League this season is shared by last year’s winner, Mohamed Salah, his Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane, and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The trio of stars finished with 22 goals, as Mane and Aubameyang both hit a brace on Championship Sunday.

[READ: Man City win Premier League title]

The last time the Golden Boot was shared was in 2011, when Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov shared it with 20 goals.

For Arsenal, it’s the club’s first Golden Boot winner since Robin Van Persie scored an incredible 30-goals in the 2011-2012 season, before moving to Manchester United and winning a Premier League title. Aubameyang becomes Arsenal’s third Golden Boot winner, following Thierry Henry and Van Persie. Mane meanwhile becomes Liverpool’s fourth Golden Boot winner, after Salah, Luis Suarez, and Michael Owen.

Dimitar Berbatov says he wants to play in the Premier League again

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Dimitar Berbatov, at 35 years old, says he isn’t done yet.

The former Manchester United striker who won the Premier League twice with the Red Devils told BBC 5 Live that he wants to come back to play in the English top flight.

“When you’ve played in the Premier League you don’t want to play anywhere else,” Berbatov said. “In this stage of my career I know where I am — I would happily play for a team where they use my experience and my knowledge. I can help young players develop and make the team stronger. In the end it’s all about helping the team play.”

Berbatov spent five seasons in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen before moving to England in 2006, first with Tottenham Hotspur for two seasons before a switch to Manchester United that netted 48 goals in 108 league appearances. He spent two more season in the Premier League with Fulham before heading overseas to play for Monaco and Greek side PAOK. He was released from Panathinaikos in June, leaving him without a club since the summer.

The Bulgarian international has made 78 appearances for his country, scoring 48 times, but has been retired from international play since 2010.

Burnley, Middlesbrough, Hull City, Swansea City, and Sunderland have all failed to score double-digit goals thus far in league play. However, some of those clubs, such as Middlesbrough and Swansea, already have new purchases up front and likely would pass on someone of Berbatov’s abilities.

The 35-year-old was known for his unique style of play which featured brilliant flashes of skill and technique that punctuated long stretches of seemingly nonchalant strolls around the pitch. He was often branded as “lazy” although many disputed that negative label.

“Interview with Dimitar Berbatov, conducted by journalist Dimitar Berbatov”

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Oh man. Dimitar Berbatov is ready to add a Pulitzer Prize to his trophy case.

The former Manchester United and Spurs striker sometimes called “The Incredible Sulk” has taken to his Facebook page after picking up a red card for PAOK against rivals AEK Athens over the weekend.

[ VIDEO: USMNT duo Zardes, Parker talk youth-heavy camp ]

Berbatov, 34, was tossed for throwing an elbow in the box, giving him his first red card in 14 years. The big Bulgarian had come on as a substitute, and has drawn much criticism for his brief appearance.

So he granted an exclusive interview to himself in which he lashed out at “stupid” journalism regarding his passion for the game.

Interview with Dimitar Berbatov, conducted by journalist Dimitar Berbatov..JDB: Hi, How are you feeling..DB: Hi. I am…

Posted by Dimitar Berbatov on Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DB vs. JDB. Hard-hitting questions from JDB. Like this one:

JDB: Some media says you don’t want to play for PAOK any more?
DB: This is why i am giving interview to you, and not to people who are coming up with stupid things like this..This is not true, and with this kind of talks some people are trying to harm the team.

Dimitar, lay off Journalist Dimitar. He’s just doing his job, man.