Dimitar Berbatov on Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to drop him for 2011 Champions League final


Dimitar Berbatov was United’s top scorer in 2011 (Picture: Getty)

Former Manchester United forward Dimitar Berbatov insists he now understands why Sir Alex Ferguson left him out of the side’s squad to face Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final.

The Bulgarian was the joint top scorer in the Premier League as United lifted their 19th league title and the Red Devils were looking to take their tally of European Cups to four with a win against Pep Guardiola’s side at Wembley.

While Berbatov was unlikely to start given the need to press Barcelona, the former Tottenham star had arguably been United’s best performer all season and looked certain to take a spot on the bench.

However, the striker was left out of the 18-man squad in favour of Michael Owen – who hadn’t started a single game in the competition that season and made just two substitute appearances.

Ferguson has since apologised for leaving Berbatov out and the Scot has written the foreword for the striker’s upcoming autobiography.

The pain of missing out on the 3-1 defeat to Barcelona has not subsided for Berbatov but the Bulgarian admits now he understands Ferguson’s decision.

Berbatov had been expected to be in the squad (Picture: Getty)

‘When I first saw what he had written I felt some very mixed emotions,’ Berbatov told the Guardian.

‘First of all, you have to be really strong as a personality to say ‘I’m sorry’ and the fact that he did only shows what kind of person Sir Alex is. His words made me feel good.

‘However, I wouldn’t say I was surprised because I always thought I had a place in the team for that particular game. But that is now in the past and you can’t turn back the time.

‘I know that if some day I am the manager and my team plays in a cup final, I will have to do the same thing not only to one of my players but to a few of them. Now I’m trying to see all these things from a manager’s perspective.

‘Our relationship is good. There’s nothing to forgive him for. I’ve never had any bad feelings, I was just disappointed [with his decision]. At first, I reacted impulsively and was really upset. But then, as time goes by, you start to realise what that decision was about.’

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