Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov was forced to flee his native Bulgaria after crime bosses threatened to kidnap his girlfriend and daughter, it has been reported.
Various reports circulating on the internet go on to claim that United's record signing evacuated his loved ones on a private charter plane provided by his manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
It's claimed that local Bulgarian mafia had contacted Berbatov's mother, Margarita, to tell her the family was in danger unless a protection fee of £50,000 was paid.
The reports claim that Berbatov chose not to go to police after he was informed that officials from Bulgaria's Internal Affairs Ministry were involved in the plot.
Instead he negotiated directly with the mafia bosses and reached an agreement that they would leave girlfriend Elana, and new baby Dea, alone.
It is not the first time that Berbatov has had a run in with the Bulgarian mafia. While he was a youth player for CSKA Sofia, he was kidnapped and delivered to crime boss Georgi Iliev who demanded Berbatov play for his own club FC Levski Kjustendil.Reuse content