The Bulgarian striker used to train in defense at times to learn more about how the defenders saw the game – and how to obtain the best out of them.

All in one

Dimitar Berbatov says that he played like Franco Baresi, Paulo Maldini, and Franz Beckenbauer all in one. Once he had to play at center-back for Manchester United. The Bulgarian striker used to train in defense at times to learn more about how the defenders saw the game – and how to obtain the best out of them. Once, in a League Cup match with Leeds United, Manchester used all three substitutions when a young defender Zeki Fryers left the pitch injured, so Dimitar filled in from behind. “Firstly, it was not five minutes, it was like half an hour, maybe!” Of course, I remember that, but few people remember what a game it was. I was like Baresi, Maldini, and Beckenbauer all in one!”

A powerful duet of Berbatov and Keane

Better remembered for his goalscoring, Berbatov used one of the most fruitful partnerships in his career during the game for Tottenham. He and Robbie Keane created a powerful duet in north London, and Berbatov was asked how highly he rated the Irishman. “Keane was incredible. When we played together, we created beautiful masterpieces all day. He was flawless in the goals we netted. It was a great time. “Dimitar was also asked about the most underrated bands he played with during his time in the Premier League.” At Tottenham, Ledley King was, for me, a fantastic defender, and Jermain Defoe netted a lot of goals. “At Man United, Antonio Valencia was a monster, and Michael Carrick was great. I would put myself in there too.”

While Berbatov won two Premier League trophies at the Red Devils. The first trophy he won in football outside of his homeland Bulgaria came at Tottenham. The Spurs beat Chelsea 2–1 to win the League Cup in 2007–08, with Berbatov seizing the Spurs before Jonathan Woodgate scored the winner. “Having won the cup in 2008, beating Chelsea at Wembley, I scored in that game,” he recalled. “It was my first trophy in England. It was a special moment, but to be honest, every match for Tottenham was exceptional for me, and I love them. I have so much respect and recognition for the squad, and it’s forever.”