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Fulham[edit]

Berbatov playing for Fulham

On 31 August 2012, it was announced Berbatov had signed a two-


year contract with Fulham for an undisclosed fee.[79] He made his
league debut the following day, in a 3–0 loss against West Ham
United, coming off the bench for Fulham at half-time. On 15
September, he made his home debut and scored twice in a 3–0 win
against West Bromwich Albion.[80] On 27 October he scored Fulham's
third goal in a 3–3 away draw with Reading. On 10 November
Berbatov played 90 minutes against Arsenal, in a game in which he
made an assist and scored twice for yet another 3–3 draw.[81]
After scoring against Southampton on 26 December 2012, Berbatov
took off his shirt to reveal the words "keep calm and pass me the ball"
written on his vest, a celebration for which he was yellow-carded and
which manager Martin Jol described as "not the brightest thing to
do".[82] On 1 January 2013, Berbatov scored the first Premier League
goal of the new year when he opened the scoring away at West
Bromwich Albion in an important 2–1 away win for Fulham.[citation needed]
On 30 January 2013, his 32nd birthday, he scored the first in a 3–1
home win against West Ham, raising his tally in the Premier League to
eight since joining the Cottagers.[83] He then scored the only goal in the
game against Stoke City on 23 February, followed by another one in
the 2–2 draw with Sunderland on 2 March. In Fulham's next Premier
League game Berbatov scored the only goal against his old side in a
surprise 0–1 away win to Tottenham. On 1 April 2013, Berbatov
scored two goals against QPR in a 3–2 win at Craven Cottage, one of
them from the penalty spot. This took his season tally in the league to
13 goals, and it also made him the first Fulham player to score in four
consecutive league games since Steed Malbranque in 2003.
Berbatov's next goal came against Liverpool in the penultimate game
of the season. Berbatov rounded off the season with a goal away
at Swansea City on the final day in a 3–0 away win. This took his tally
to 15 goals in his debut season for Fulham.
Monaco[edit]

Berbatov appearing for AS Monaco in December 2014 in a UEFA Champions


League group stage match against Zenit St. Petersburg

On the January 2014 deadline, it was reported that AS Monaco had


signed Berbatov to replace the injured Radamel Falcao for the
remainder of the season. At first, it was believed to be a loan move,
although it was later revealed that Fulham had released
Berbatov.[84][85][86] Berbatov made his Ligue 1 debut in a 1–1 home draw
against Paris Saint-Germain on 9 February, coming on as a second-
half substitute for Valère Germain. His first goal came three days later,
scoring in extra time for a 1–0 win over Nice in the Coupe de France.
Berbatov scored his first goal in the league on 8 March in a 2–1 home
win against Sochaux. He ended the season with 6 goals from 12
league games and on 16 May, he signed a new one-year contract at
the club.[87] In the first leg of the Champions League match against
Arsenal, Berbatov scored a second away goal, in a 3–1 victory.[88] He
left the club on 1 June 2015, after the club decided against renewing
his contract, with Monaco releasing a statement praising the 34-year-
old for his "character, his professionalism and his great talent".
Monaco president Vadim Vasilyev added: "He is clearly among the
greatest strikers who have played for Monaco. We are proud of what
he brought to the club and wish him the best in the future."[89]
PAOK[edit]
On 2 September 2015, it was announced that Berbatov had signed a
one-year contract with Greek club PAOK.[90] The club's owner Ivan
Savvidis had been trying to bring Berbatov to the club for three years
and he finally convinced him to join. On 10 June 2016, he was
released after a single season.[91]
Kerala Blasters[edit]
After a year without a club, Berbatov signed with Indian Super
League club Kerala Blasters on 23 August 2017 on a one-year deal
for a salary of ₹75 million (approximately £900,000).[92][93] Berbatov
scored his first goal against ATK on 8 February 2018.[94] Berbatov was
mainly used as a substitute and commented that David James used
"absurd tactics". He left the club at the end of the regular season in
March 2018.[95]
Retirement[edit]
After a year-and-a-half without a club, but training several times
with Beroe Stara Zagora and CSKA 1948, Berbatov officially
announced his retirement from football on 19 September 2019.[96]

International career[edit]
Berbatov made his debut for Bulgaria on 17 November 1999, aged 18,
when he came on as a substitute for Aleksandar Aleksandrov in a 1–
0 friendly loss against Greece.[97][98] He scored his first goal for his
country on 12 February 2000 in another friendly defeat, 3–2
against Chile,[97][99] and represented Bulgaria at Euro 2004. This was
the only major tournament he played at for his country, owing to the
team's failure to qualify for other tournaments.[100] In 2007, he scored
two goals in the final of the Cyprus International Football
Tournament against the host nation, Cyprus, to give Bulgaria a 3–0
win and Berbatov his only international title with the national
team.[101] He scored a hat-trick in the 6–2 home win in a 2010 World
Cup qualification match against Georgia in October 2009, enabling
him to bring his goal tally for the national side to 46 goals, just one
short of the then all-time top scorer for Bulgaria, Hristo Bonev;[102] after
scoring two goals against Malta during a 4–1 friendly away win during
the following month, he took the record.[103]
Berbatov captained the team from 2006 until May 2010,[104] when he
announced his retirement from international football, leaving his tally
for Bulgaria standing at 48 goals from 78 matches.[105] In February
2012, newly appointed Bulgaria head coach Lyuboslav
Penev revealed that Berbatov was willing to consider coming out of
international retirement and participate in an
upcoming friendly against Hungary. Berbatov eventually decided
against accepting a call-up for the match, as he didn't feel that he was
in top shape, but at the time did not rule out a return to the national
side at some point in the future.[104] In September 2012, he reconfirmed
his international retirement.[106]
Soccer Aid[edit]
In May 2016 it was revealed that Berbatov would return to Old
Trafford to play for the Rest of the World in Soccer Aid, a charity
football match in aid of the United Nations Children's Emergency
Fund (UNICEF), alongside the likes of Jaap Stam, Robbie
Fowler and Jamie Carragher.[107] He scored two goals in an eventual
3–2 loss to England.

Style of play[edit]
"I am a relaxed guy. I play that way and I can't change my style. I watch games
and see guys who panic on the ball – they look so nervous. I can be calm,
because I sometimes know what I want to do before the ball comes to me. The
boss [Alex Ferguson] tells me not to change anything – he gives me freedom to
express my qualities."
Berbatov describes his style of play in 2009[108]

Berbatov is known for his footballing intelligence, technical ability and


composure; in particular, his unhurried stance in front of goal has
been described by The Scotsman's Tom Lappin as "elegant and
calm". He also possesses exceptional precision when passing and
shooting, and takes his time when on attack in order to ensure the
best move possible. As such, he is often used as a deep-lying centre
forward, receiving passes from the midfield, holding the ball up and
then using his tactical acumen and well-honed skill to bring his
teammates into the game. His impressive physical stature combines
with these attributes to form a strong all-round attacking
player.[108][109][110]
It is because of these characteristics that he was signed by
Manchester United, who intended for Berbatov to complement the
combative and busy style of their English striker Wayne Rooney.
Whereas Rooney is known for exerting himself vigorously for the
entirety of a match, Berbatov employs a more laid-back and
composed style, and because of this is sometimes criticised by
observers who interpret this as laziness.[108][109] On signing for
Manchester United, Berbatov attracted comparisons with former
United forward Eric Cantona, not only because of his languid and
impeccable touch, but also because of his bravado and perceived
arrogance.[110] Berbatov is, however, capable of adapting his style to
play more directly when required; in April 2010, for example, with
Rooney absent, Berbatov gave a performance against his former side
Tottenham which, in James Ducker's words, was as if he had "decided
to take it upon himself to impersonate the England striker". Combining
uncharacteristic determination and effort with his regular technical
skill, he contributed to the first Manchester United goal and helped
United to a 3–1 victory.[111]

Personal life[edit]
Berbatov learned to speak English by watching the
American Godfather series of films;[112] outside of football, he lists his
hobbies as drawing and basketball.[113] Berbatov is a sponsor of
children's charities in his native Bulgaria, supporting five care
homes.[114] He is also the founder of the Dimitar Berbatov Foundation,
which helps young people to develop their talents. Berbatov's long-
time girlfriend, Elena, gave birth to their first child, a girl named Dea,
on 15 October 2009 at a hospital in Sofia.[115] In November 2012, he
had his second daughter, Elia.[116]
Berbatov claims that at the age of eighteen, he was held hostage with
plans of making him sign for Georgi Iliev's football team, Levski
Kyustendil. Berbatov's father contacted CSKA Sofia's boss Iliya
Pavlov who set things straight.[117] In 2009, reports emerged that
Berbatov was forced to leave Bulgaria, since local mafia threatened to
kidnap his family.[10] In November 2018, Berbatov officially unveiled his
autobiography По моя начин (In my own way).[118]