Berbatov wants more than goals

United striker concentrates on showcasing skills rather than his scoring record

The Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has defended his languid playing style and, despite being bought for his prowess in front of goal, says he does not want to be remembered only for scoring.

Berbatov was criticised by United fans last season after scoring just 14 goals in all competitions compared to 23 during the previous campaign when he was at Tottenham Hotspur. But the Bulgaria striker, who is rated as one of the most skilful players in the Premier League, has defended his record and believes he contributes more to the team than just goals.

"I want people to remember me as a very good and skilful player. I don't want to be remembered as a top scorer," Berbatov said yesterday. "I've played with strikers with 100 goals, who can't control the ball," he said. "It seems like a three-metre pass when they're trying to control the ball with their feet."

The 28-year-old Bulgaria captain, who boasts a remarkable international scoring record of 41 goals in 68 matches, joined United on the last day of the transfer window last year. He signed a four-year deal at Old Trafford who paid out a club record fee of £30.75 million.

Despite the murmurings of discontent from United fans, Berbatov's agent, Emil Danchev, said there was no possibility of the striker leaving the club. "Despite recent speculation that he may leave, I want to declare that Dimitar will play for Manchester United next season," Danchev said. "He'll stay and we hope he will win what he missed out on this year."

Berbatov helped United clinch the league title in his first season, although he lost out on a Champions League winners' medal when United were beaten by Barcelona in the final.

Berbatov said winning the Premier League was the main target he had set during his first months at Old Trafford. "Yes, it was my No 1 aim," he said. "Probably, I was much more pleased than my team-mates but it was my first title after all. I think it's understandable since Ryan Giggs told me he has 11 championship medals..."

Berbatov also revealed he is in awe of the United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, like most of the other squad members. "All the players have a huge respect for him," he said. "You can be tying up your boots but when he begins to talk you just freeze and listen to him. His word is law to us."

The general director of Real Madrid, Jorge Valdano, claims the club are already in negotiations with United over Cristiano Ronaldo. Reports in Spain suggest that new Madrid president, Florentino Perez, has been in talks with the club and is on the verge of breaking Real's own world record transfer, in euros terms, set just a few days ago for Kaka, to bring Ronaldo to the Bernabeu.

Valdano's comments will only serve to add fuel to the speculation that the Spanish giants have intensified their efforts to sign the Portugal winger. "I can't answer any questions about him," he said. "I can only talk about players who are on their way here, not about those we are in negotiations over. He is a great professional, he dedicates a very great deal of time to his work. He is a great footballer and a very good professional."

Ronaldo has been enjoying the close season, spending time in Sardinia and Los Angeles. The 24-year-old obviously enjoys the trappings of his fame, but Valdano insists he is still the perfect player for Real.

"According to the information we have managed to obtain, he is an excellent professional," Valdano said. "You don't get the player's body he has, which is a footballing advertisement, without working a great deal. Another thing is that his reputation as an officially good-looking guy, and a social or advertising model, blurs his image a bit. He is a great footballer."

Speculation has been rife in the Spanish capital about new arrivals ever since the return of Perez, who presided over the famous galacticos era at the club. And while they are reportedly ready to pay €89m (£76m) for Ronaldo, Valdano has revealed they will not break the bank for the Valencia striker David Villa.

"He is an excellent striker but he has a prohibitive price," Valdano said. "He is a player who interests us, but only at a reasonable price. There's a long way to the start of the season and the summer is very long – these comings and goings will be very interesting. They have written about hundreds of players who dream about coming to Real Madrid and it's logical that one of those will end up in the side."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference