Berbatov sheds that 30m load
Dimitar Berbatov is Manchester United's man of the moment. The Bulgarian has surged from being labelled a £30.75m misfit to maestro with seven goals from six starts this season. The icing on the cake came last Sunday with his hat-trick against Liverpool, highlighted by his wonderfully executed overhead kick for his second in front of the Stretford End. Two years after his club record switch from Tottenham to the Reds the 29-year-old has finally ditched the flop' label his critics had pinned on him. But Berbatov admits becoming United's most expensive player in history in August 2008 was a huge burden on his shoulders and one that he's only just managed to shed. You try not to think about it (the record fee) but sometimes you just can't help it, said the striker. You start thinking a lot of money' and now what's going to happen if you don't prove good enough for that amount of money, you don't score enough goals. They are normal things that a lot of people can think of. They're always going through my mind and sometimes it can be bad for your concentration and your skills because it distracts you from the main goal I have just to play and enjoy my football. Sometimes you think you haven't done enough for the team and you start thinking, what did I do wrong?' I can do better. I was better in some games in the past. I started to underestimate my skill, which was no good because I know what I can do. You have periods like this in every player's career. The main thing is to learn and stay strong in those moments. In the end I just say, relax, play.' You're playing for the biggest club in the world and that's it nobody can say anything else. Berbatov's slow start to his Old Trafford career that saw him score 14 goals in his debut term and 12 last season made him the target for the doubters. He split Reds fans as well as the media. You try not to give too much attention to that and the criticism because it's going to be bad for you, he added. Everybody's free to say whatever they want. But nobody can take my smile away. I play for Manchester United and that was my main goal. While Berbatov was under the spotlight for his goal contribution and languid body language, his artistry was never in question. But he says his creative side is more important than his finishing. I have changed through the years. I enjoy creating things, he added. Obviously I am a striker. People expect me to score many goals. But sometimes it is good to create a goal for someone. That makes me very happy and gives me a lot of pleasure. Sometimes the difficult pass, the pass no-one else can see, when you make it happen, it is more important than scoring the goal. It gives you a bigger feeling. Not everyone feels like this. I have always liked to play with the ball. You have some strikers who wait for one chance in the whole of the game. Then they score. I am not like this. Obviously there are games when you stand around doing nothing all game and in the end, the ball hits you on the knee and goes in the net. But that doesn't make me feel happy. I need to feel the ball at my feet. I need to organise things and make things happen. That is what makes me feel like a player. There is a difference between a football player and a goalscorer. For me it is the whole package. I like to play with clever players. Some players have the whole vision. Without looking left or right they know where they play the ball. I like these kinds of players. I try to be like this. It is all about imagination on the pitch. I just try to enjoy myself. Will Berbatov's form last? Have your say.
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