Except coach, India was a great experience: Berbatov



Panaji: Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov is struggling to find the right words while describing his time in India, particularly when he made his home debut for Kerala Blasters FC.
It was in 2017 and his debut for Blasters was against ATK at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi. He had heard about Kerala’s passion for the game, the crazy support, and an hour before kick off, he could experience it himself.
“The fans were there one hour before the game, jumping, shouting, cheering,” the former Manchester United striker told TOI. “We were inside the dressing room and could hear everything. The stadium was literally shaking. I cannot find the right word to describe the feeling, but when we walked out to play the first game, it was crazy. You could see yellow everywhere.”
Berbatov, who won two Premier League titles and shared the Golden Boot during his four years at United, was a marquee signing for Blasters, along with his treble winner Wes Brown. He made his debut in front of 37,462 cheering fans.
“I was shouting (instructions) on the field and the player next to me couldn’t hear. It was crazy experience. It was also very hot and humid. I probably lost five kgs but a great experience overall. The people were nice all the time,” said Berbatov who had his United teammate, Wes Brown, join him in India that season.
The Bulgarian striker scored 48 goals in 108 appearances for United, 27 goals in 70 matches for Tottenham Hotspur, but finished with just one in nine matches for Blasters. He started the first few games but was then restricted to appearances from the bench amid a feud with coach David James.
On his way home, Berbatov put up a cryptic post on social media, saying “Chip the ball to the strikers, chest, and we take it from there/WTF/Who Plays like this?”
Asked if he remembers the post, Berbatov did not shy away.
“Of course, I remember that. The coach did not show me respect. At the end of the day, if you don’t show me respect when respect is due, I am not going to respect you. I was not happy how things ended. Other than the coach, everything was great. It was a good adventure. Of course, I was thinking I would be better, but injuries, age and stuff like this, sometimes prevents you doing what you can do when you are probably (aged) 25. But overall, the adventure in India was great,” said Berbatov.


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