Category Archives: psg

Patronized Berba Deserves More Than He’s Getting

https://i2.wp.com/i.eurosport.com/2011/05/30/727077-8642951-317-238.jpgIn the midst of United’s attacking wildfire, one forward was removed from the rest. As in most things, Berbatov was on the outskirts.

He has always been different from the others. Quiet, withdrawn, Berbatov refuses to be sucked into the loud, effervescent public life of Rio Ferdinand, nor the wild, sex driven antics of Wayne Rooney. When United players are asked to describe their Bulgarian teammate, the answers tend to be vague or mumbled. To an outsider, it would seem as though nobody really knows Dimitar Berbatov. He is said to sit far from the rest on away trips, and rarely join in on raucous games of cards in the wee hours during those infamous tours abroad.

Lackadaisical, languid, lazy. Berbatov’s playing style has generated cliches of its own. Wishing to criticize, no wide range of vocabulary is needed, merely a group of synonyms that any would be TV pundit learns in their crash course to being unoriginal.

Even when he achieves, Berbatov’s accomplishments are derided. A golden boot made impure by the distribution of goals – heavily on one or two games against low level opposition – and a second title win in three years, more the work of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.

Now the criticism seems to have worked. The Bulgarian Berbatov is further away from first team football than ever, on the outskirts both personally and professionally.

Interest from PSG and Juventus though was rejected, despite his apparent distance from the starting eleven, Berbatov holds some value in Ferguson’s eye. What value though? Has he just been shelved away, kept only to save face, to show that thirty million pounds wasn’t wasted? Berbatov is fast turning into another object, kept only for the sake of stubbornness, cursed by no fault of his own, but by the failure of those around him to understand his footballing importance and by a price tag which many see as at its most useful when tied around the striker’s metaphorical neck.

The 2011 Champions League final looked to be his nadir.  Left out of the squad entirely, Berbatov was forced to take a watchers on role while the constantly injured Michael Owen claimed a place on the bench. That season Owen had netted twice in the league. Berbatov was top scorer with twenty.


“There was no more disappointed man that night (Champions League final) than Dimitar, there’s no question about that.” said Ferguson. “I made a decision that I didn’t want to make, putting Michael Owen on the bench, but I felt it was a positive one.”
Since then, the World has seen little of Dimitar Berbatov. He scored in a pre season friendly against the Major League Soccer All Stars, and is often caught respectfully watching games from his position on the sidelines. According to Ferguson, his performances in training post Champions League rejection have been inspiring – one wonders then how much stall is set by training these days…
That Berbatov hasn’t moved is a crime only the humblest could commit. Berbatov knows that from Manchester United the only step is down, but he doesn’t regard himself highly enough to see first team football as a god given right. It is Berbatov’s personal underestimation, his modesty and his loyalty that are pulling him down.
In Manchester, a city marked constantly by waste of talent, one player on the red side festers quietly. He is driven though not by money (he could have got more at PSG) but by his own belief in English club football’s most vital mantra. No player is bigger than their club. Berbatov appreciates that all to well. Instead of quietly retreating, accepting the situation and fighting to regain lost acclaim, maybe Berba should have thrown a fit after that Champions League final refusal. Maybe he should have cried, complained and left.

At some point he should have given up. Tired of being patronized by a man who is fast losing interest in a one time chief transfer target, he should have asked to leave.

The World is losing a prodigious talent, but Berbatov would never admit it. He’s too humble.

Why The Bizarre Fifth Club Is Neymar’s Best Option

Tracked by seemingly every club on the planet, Neymar is fast becoming one of the most prominent young footballers in the World. After electing to spurn the advances of Chelsea last summer, Neymar helped Brazilian club Santos on their way to a first Copa Libertadores crown since the Pele era, a success which has only increased the hype surrounding him. The line of suitors is beginning to lengthen, and it seems it will only be a matter of time before the Brazilian wunderkind departs.

When I woke up this morning and trawled through Sky Sports’ transfer headlines, an unfamiliar name popped up around a few that I normally hear a lot about. A Santos representative had confirmed that five clubs have met Neymar’s release clause of forty-five million euros, the first four were Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea. The fifth was somewhat different, a Russian club; Anzhi Makhachkala.

It seems strange for a youngster to be advised to reject four of the biggest clubs in World Football, so as to join one that isn’t even a powerhouse in its native land, however, Anzhi Makhachkala represents an option that might do wonders for Neymar’s career, and insure that the reputation he dies with is the one that we all expect him to earn.

At age nineteen, a switch of continents, lifestyle and language is always difficult, but for that transition to be accompanied by a place at a high profile club is simply too much for a player as young as Neymar; he would do much better to follow in the footsteps of some of his predecessors to the crown of “hottest young Brazilian talent,” Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Those two are not often used as blueprints for guiding the life of a young person, but in this respect they set a very good example.

A career in Europe is about steps. For some players, a move directly from South America to one of the major European clubs will end happily, but for others, such a transfer spells trouble. There is no question that Neymar has the talent to succeed at one of the four massive clubs bidding for him, his maturity and temperament though are still concerning aspects of his personality.

Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, upon making a name for themselves in Brazil, started small, Ronaldo at PSV Eindhoven and Ronaldinho at Paris St. Germain, before furthering themselves at teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. Such a route would would be ideal for Neymar, he would have the opportunity to gain experience of a new lifestyle, before throwing himself into the pressured atmosphere of a major European club.

This summer, Neymar will participate in the Copa America, a high level, demanding tournament which would also see his pre season time at a possible new club cut. All the more reason for the Brazilian to resist the temptation of a glamour move, one tired, burned out season could end his career as a top level player in Europe, even if he was set to improve in years to come.

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that Neymar will heed my advice; a chance to join Barcelona or Real Madrid in this current era is one that is not often turned down, even if such a decision would be beneficial. In football, one poor choice can ruin a career, so for the sake of Neymar and the talent that he possesses, I hope he makes the right one.

Where should Neymar go?
Where will Neymar go?

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