Tottenham Hotspur have had many big personalities come through the team in recent years and equally many extremely talented players.
One man who certainly ticks both of those boxes is Dimitar Berbatov, the silky Bulgarian who formed a telepathic relationship with Robbie Keane up front for the Lilywhites.
Berba spent three seasons at Spurs, winning the hearts of fans and racking up 102 appearances and 46 goals for the club (Wikipedia).
He then moved to Manchester United where he won multiple league titles and a golden boot, scoring 56 goals in 149 games for the Red Devils.
However, certainly during his time in England, Berbatov was known for his effortless playstyle which was often tarnished with the ‘lazy’ brush.
The 38-yar-old has now revealed his distaste for these labels during his career and insists that he ran more than a number of high-profile players do now.
In true Berbatov fashion, in an interview with Goal, he claimed that these critics could ‘go f*** themselves.’
Berbatov said: “I was an artist on the pitch. I didn’t realise it in the beginning but it was really important for me to do something different. If you watch me, you won’t fall asleep or switch the channel. It might be a small movement, detail, how I control the ball or flick the ball.
“I wanted people to say ‘wow, I want to try that’. Then you see it isn’t as easy as it looks. This is what I wanted to do. It didn’t affect my game because this is who I am. I have my way of seeing football, not everyone can see it in the same way.
“Everyone is different. It helped me get to one of the biggest clubs in the world. Of course, you can’t play with 11 artists on the pitch. It is not going to happen, you need…not 11 of me.
“You need aggression. That player is a bully with a tooth missing, grass and blood on their shirt. You ask someone like Vida (Nemanja Vidic), ‘are you okay?’ He goes ‘I am f*cking great’. You appreciate what he is doing for you. He gets the ball, gives it to you. You can then do the magic.
“I had Wayne Rooney and Robbie Keane. Even if you don’t speak a lot outside the pitch, you respect each other for what you do on the pitch. You see what each other can do and how you help each other get better. In turn, you help the team. Everyone wins.
“At Leverkusen, I had a great partnership with a guy called Franca. We scored so many goals. We destroyed Bayern Munich in a season. 4-1. We both got two goals each. He didn’t speak English or German so outside the pitch we didn’t say a word. Literally nothing. Honestly, nothing.
“I saw how he trained and played on the pitch and the other way around. When we stepped on the pitch, man, it was like we were sleeping together. I was enjoying playing with that guy. Unbelievable.”
On his personal life, Berba added: “I was a very shy boy. I didn’t speak to many people and I tried to keep my world private.
“I am still to this day the same in some areas of my life but now I am more open to conversations and socialising with people. I think it is something I should have done more often when I was playing.”
And on the lazy image, Berbatov said: “It is probably because I didn’t play like Rooney or Tevez. I didn’t like that because I can show you six or seven current world-class players who run less than me back then. When you label something like that, it sticks. Even if it isn’t true.
“People can go f*ck themselves. People don’t understand and try to look smart. I would check my stats after every game and I was running 10-11km every game. It doesn’t make any difference for me. I was more bothered by how I move and make space.
“How to get an assist or pass to keep the ball. It wasn’t all about goals. I know when I was bad or good. I was realistic and knew where I stood in the football world. I always wanted to develop.”
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