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berbatov 2011.

Remembering the time Dimitar Berbatov played in central defence for Man Utd v Leeds in 2011

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Dimitar Berbatov was the dictionary definition of a ‘classy operator’.

The Bulgarian striker oozed class and lit up the Premier League with his close control, vision and, of course, the way he played the game at his own pace.

Berbatov could never have played in a team coached by Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp, where strikers are the first line of defence and expected to press relentlessly from the front, but he flourished under managers like Martin Jol and Sir Alex Ferguson.

It was Ferguson who convinced Manchester United to pay Tottenham £30 million for Berbatov’s services at the start of September 2008 - and the centre-forward went on to score 56 goals in 149 matches for the Red Devils.

Berbatov will always occupy a special place in the hearts of United fans after scoring a hat-trick against Liverpool, while in another match against Blackburn Rovers he became the first non-Englishman to score five goals in a Premier League match.

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He spent four seasons with United and left the club in 2012 with two Premier League winners’ medals.

MLS All-Star Game - Manchester United v MLS All-Stars

The time when Berbatov played at centre-back for Man Utd

But do you remember the League Cup match against Leeds United in 2011 when Berbatov played in central defence for the final 10 minutes of the match?

Honestly, it happened.

Ferguson had made all three substitutions when debutant Zeki Fryers suffered from a severe bout of cramp.

Unable to carry out his defensive duties, Berbatov took it upon himself to spend the remainder of the match in the back four.

Manchester United v Wigan Athletic - Premier League

He looked completely at home at centre-back as United, already 3-0 up, comfortably closed out the game.

Michael Owen: Berbatov can play in defence

"Berba can play there,” Michael Owen, scorer of two goals that night, was quoted as saying by the Mirror after the match.

"He does it occasionally in training. It was no surprise when he put his hand up and said he would do it."

Manchester United's English striker Mich

Video: Berbatov's two goal-line clearances v Leeds

Unfortunately there isn’t much footage of Berbatov’s defensive cameo on YouTube, aside from this clip of him producing not one but two goal-line clearances.

Watch it here…

What a boss.

Dimitar, we salute you.

Topics:
Manchester United
Dimitar Berbatov
Football

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