Dimitar Berbatov has revealed the brilliant story surrounding his move to Manchester United back in 2008, and links with the club’s local rivals Manchester City at the time.
The Bulgarian signed for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side from Tottenham Hotspur for around £30m, and went on to win the Premier League Golden Boot amongst the team’s general successes during his time at Old Trafford.
Now retired, Berbatov revealed to FourFourTwo that Man City also tried to sign him, but he told his agent to reject any offers from all other clubs except United.
“My agent told me about some interest but I said, ‘Don’t even bother mentioning anyone else, I’m going to Man United,’ because of the history, the players, the tradition, everything,” Berbatov said.
“It was the night before City signed Robinho from Madrid and my agent said, ‘Berba, there’s another team in for you’. I said, ‘F*ck off, we’re going to Man United’. He said, ‘But they’ll give you more money!’ It’s not all about the money, though.”
It’s a fantastically funny story, but is also sad in a nostalgic way. Now 10 years ago, the tables have turned in Manchester somewhat.
City remain the smaller club in the city, but they are the more successful team. A decade ago, joining City over United was unquestionable, but now it is likely sensible for most players in terms of winning trophies.
United have to return to the level where top players like Berbatov tell their agents to ignore approaches from anyone else in football in favour of joining United. There’s a long way to go until that’s the case.
The positive, though, is that it shows how much can change in a short space of time. Although this change has been negative, since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, it means in five years time, United could be flying the flag as England’s most successful team both at home and abroad.