Dimitar Berbatov Biography

Date of Birth: 30/1/1981
Clubs: Leverkusen, Tottenham Hotspur
International: Bulgaria
Honours: Bundesliga

Dimitar Ivanov Berbatov was born on 30 January 1981 and is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a striker for Manchester United. He is captain of the Bulgarian national football team.

Berbatov was born in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. His father was a professional footballer with local outfit Pirin Blagoevgrad, and his mother Margarita was a professional handball player. As a youngster, Berbatov supported AC Milan and modelled himself on Marco van Basten until the 1996 UEFA European Championship in England, when the then fifteen year old discovered a new role model in Alan Shearer, formerly of Newcastle United, even sleeping in a Newcastle shirt. His mother later spoke of Dimitar’s dream of playing for Newcastle one day. Outside of football, he lists his hobbies as drawing and basketball.

Berbatov’s career began at the Pirin Blagoevgrad club, and continued until he was spotted by legendary scout and coach Dimitar Penev.

At the age of just 17, Berbatov moved to CSKA Sofia following in the footsteps of his father, Ivan, who also played for the club as a left winger and later as a defender. He played for CSKA in the Bulgarian A PFG between 1998 and January 2001 making his debut as an 18-year-old in the 1998–99 season.

A run of nine goals in 11 games in 2000–01 was enough to persuade Bayer Leverkusen to sign Berbatov in January 2001. Berbatov had a slow start to his Leverkusen career with just 16 goals in his first 67 appearances for the club.

In 2001–02 Leverkusen were runners-up in the Bundesliga and the DFB-Pokal. During the 2002–03 Bundesliga season Berbatov established his place as the first-choice forward at Bayer Leverkusen but it was not until the 2003–04 season that he really began to shine scoring 16 goals in 24 starts. The following two seasons saw him go from strength to strength, netting another 46 goals including five in the Champions League 2004–05 raising awareness of his talent and generating interest from teams throughout Europe.

In May 2006, Berbatov joined Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of €16m, (£10.9 million) making him the most expensive Bulgarian player in history.

Due to his highly impressive displays, especially in the latter half of the season, he won the Tottenham Hotspur player of the season award in 2006–07. Berbatov was also included in the FA Premier League’s PFA Team of the Season on 21 April 2007, one of only three players in the team not to play for league winners Manchester United.

After much speculation, Berbatov completed a move to Manchester United on 1 September 2008 for a fee of around £30.75 million, with Fraizer Campbell joining Tottenham on a season-long loan as part of the deal.