Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov Exclusive: Sir Bobby Charlton's legacy will live forever

Former Manchester United and Bulgaria striker Dimitar Berbatov
Berbatov pays tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton

Betfair Ambassador Dimitar Berbatov recalls the first time he met Sir Bobby during his time at Manchester United, digs deep on the Red Devils' win over Copenhagen, and looks forward to the Mancheser derby this weekend...

  • Dimitar pays tribute to Sir Bobby Charlton

  • United can't afford to make mistakes in Manchester derby

  • Harry Maguire is showing his worth to the team

  • Alvarez and Big Ange are impressing


I was very sad to learn about the passing of Sir Bobby Charlton. Everyone around the world that follows football knew of Sir Bobby. His legacy at United, in England and around the football world will live forever.

He had such an impact on English football, English culture, and of course the 1966 World Cup for England, so we're all saddened by him passing. It was a sad, sad day.

I remember before my first ever game for United, it was against Liverpool at Anfield, I was preparing for the game in the dressing room, thinking about what I'm going to do and all of a sudden Sir Alex came in and goes "Berba, this is Sir Bobby Charlton". Sir Bobby said hello to me and I was starstruck. That was the first time I met him.

He would always talk to us after we'd won or lost, he was always supporting the club. Seeing him during my time at United, it was a pleasure to be with him. You saw greatness in him, that's what he was at United.

I feel so lucky to have spent some time with him, to have had the chance to know him and to see who he was.

We can't ignore the United mistakes despite win in Champions League

Let's not be blinded by the three points and let's not pretend we didn't see some cracks in the team.

Copenhagen were easily able to create goal scoring opportunities. They didn't score due to Onana and the inexperience of the Copenhagen players. That's why it was 0-0 for most of the game.

This lack of communication, positioning, reading of the game, it needs to be addressed. Yes, it was 1-0 and three points, but I hope everybody will pay attention to the mistakes that were made in the game and correct them immediately.

If United were playing against an experienced team, a better team, then the opposition would have scored.

Penalty save was important for Onana

It was a good moment for Onana, but a turning point? Those are big words. He's had a few mistakes, but he's doing fine.

His confidence leads to him making silly mistakes. But with that penalty save, it was so important for the team and personally for him because that moment will hopefully lead to him to stop making any more silly mistakes.

It will make him 100% concentrated and not underestimating any situations. It was a great save as it wasn't a bad penalty.

Harry Maguire is on the road to redemption

It's now 17 starts and 16 wins for Harry Maguire and I think he is on his way to finding redemption and proving to everyone that he is good enough to play for the team.

The vital thing for Maguire is concentration. Just stay concentrated, play simple, don't overcomplicate the game, don't try to impress anyone, just play the game. And then you'll have moments like these when you'll be the hero. It'll give you the confidence you need during tough situations. Good luck to him.

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When he scored and celebrated, I think he was just saying inside, 'take that!'

It's like vindication, when you're suffering so much and then all of a sudden you have this moment where you want to show everyone, 'listen, I tried my best, I tried my best. Yes I make mistakes but I'm trying my best for the team'. It was a great moment for him.

I'm concerned about reports suggesting Casemiro regrets joining Untied

I hope this is just a bad rumour because it's going to bring unwanted heat towards him in a moment where he's not playing how he used to play.

So, I hope it's nothing but a rumour and that there's nothing to it. He has shown at Real Madrid how highly rated he is, how he can play top, top football - he showed that at Man United in his first season.

He's set high standards for himself, so it's up to him to continue to prove to everyone that he's the player that people know he is.

Time is going by and he's getting older, so he needs to be smarter in how he plays the game, how he approaches games, how he reads the game.

I hope he's back fit as soon as possible as he'll bring that maturity and calmness of reading and knowing the game. He's still a presence that you can count on.

Don't write him off so quickly because he deserves to be given more time even when he's not playing well. He's a world class player.

Joao Neves has been linked but there's no rush in replacing Casemiro just yet

Clubs always look to the future. You have to build towards the future. That's always going to be the case if you're looking for replacements for players that are going towards the end of their careers, but in the case of Casemiro, I don't think that's the case yet.

If United are going for a younger midfielder, who they're going to build as a replacement, that's not a problem.

You can buy someone who is 21, take him in the team, try to slowly adjust them to English football, and you need this because Casemiro is 31.

Sometimes in football, if you're over 30, and you're performing well, then at one point you're not performing to the standards, now it's normal for the club to start looking to the future and thinking, 'yes, 31, 32, 33, we need to be ready for this'.

It's a normal stage in football where you'll look for younger players and you want to integrate them into the team. I see nothing wrong with that. But Casemiro has more football to give Man United.

United can't afford to make any mistakes against City

Let me tell you something... If United allow the same freedom like they did against Copenhagen to City, they are going to suffer in Sunday's derby.

There are teams when you play against them, you can afford to make mistakes because you know if there's a lack of quality in the opposition, they are not going to take advantage of the mistakes you're making. But then there are teams when you know if you make half of a mistake they will punish you - teams like City. You need to be 100% more concentrated against City.

Based on what City have achieved so far and how they're still performing at a high level this season, I don't think you can have the slightest thought of underestimating them in any way possible.

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You need to get that thought out of your mind. Even if they are losing or not playing the way people expect to play, they still have so much quality in the team that the quality can compensate for a bad performance and get you the three points.

They are title challengers, they are Champions League challengers, they challenge for everything. The experience with their manager knowing when to play the right players during the season, and who rests when, it's unbelievable and that is how you win trophies. This is what good managers do.

Julian Alvarez can thrive in Haaland's shadow

In football you have players, in the case of Haaland, who you just can't escape being in their shadow because they produce so much quality. Haaland is going to show that quality for many years to come.

Alvarez has had a great start to the season, but he is in his teammate's shadow at the moment and he knows that.

The only way you can get out of that shadow is if you perform and be better in every game and build your own shadow for someone else to be under.

This was the case with Harry Kane and Son. Even though Son is an unbelievable player, Harry Kane's shadow was so big that Son was never able to get out of it, until now. Ronaldo and Rooney, Messi and Neymar too - all these are examples of times when great players can be in someone else's shadow but still be great.

It's up to Alvarez, who is a World Cup winner, something Haaland might never be. He has enough confidence in his ability and he's producing great football.

It's up to him to continue on that path and to play and produce. He's doing a magnificent job. His understanding with Haaland is good, I don't see any jealousy - they are playing off each other. At the moment, everything is working great for them.

For the moment, when clubs and defenders prepare for the pair, Haaland will be the more targeted of the two, which will benefit Alvarez. He's going to have more freedom, he's going to be underestimated.

That can lead to frustration for Haaland because he'll be targeted all the time, it can stop you from fully performing. That's how it is in football. If you're really good people will target you. It gives the platform for everyone else to shine, especially if you have a striker partner like Alvarez is to Haaland.

When I was at United, I had partners like Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez, there was a competition for places. That's healthy competition, you want to be there and challenge yourself against the best.

With Ronaldo, wherever he goes his shadow is big. It's up to everybody else to work and get out of it when you can and build your own legacy. What kind of legacy that will be depends on you.

Big Ange has completely changed Spurs

Everyone should pay respect to Spurs, even though I've said many times that it's still early in the season.

At the moment, everything that's happening for Spurs is not because of luck, it's because they are working, they are playing, they know what to do on the pitch.

You can see it in the games, how confidence is back in the team, they know how to play every game. When they play a different opposition, sometimes they play differently.

A player can transform a team, the same goes for a manager, he can transform a team. With Ange, it's obvious, so far, he has transformed the team completely.

The facts speak for themselves. No defeats, playing smart football, when they're a man down they still get the win, playing direct football when they need to, and scoring when they need to.

So, there needs to be credit and respect to Spurs. But as I said before, let's leave them be and hope they break records. Hopefully we can whisper it - a trophy is coming, but not yet!


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