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Former Manchester United Star Dimitar Berbatov Reveals His Favourite Strike Partner

Former Manchester United Star Dimitar Berbatov Reveals His Favourite Strike Partner

Dimitar Berbatov has revealed his favourite strike partner - and it's not one of the stars he played with at Manchester United.

Berbatov played at Manchester United between 2008 and 2012 with world class talents such as Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney.

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Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

But the Bulgarian has claimed that his top partner was Brazilian Franca, who he played with at Bayer Leverkusen early in his career.

"The likes of Rooney and [Robbie] Keane, we complemented each other, and that's even if you don't speak a lot outside the pitch," the 39-year-old explained to Goal.

"At Leverkusen, I had a great partnership with a guy called Franca. We scored so many goals. We destroyed Bayern Munich 4-1 one season.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA
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"When we stepped on the pitch, man, it was like we were sleeping together! I was enjoying playing with that guy. Unbelievable. Not selfish. I was in a better position and he would give me the ball. When I gave him the ball, he scored.

"It was like Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. It was unbelievable how we played together. Playing with him helped me develop. I appreciate that when I play with players better or on my level. You can always learn something."

It's a shock pick considering his near-telepathic understanding with United legend Rooney.

Berbatov was already at the German outfit when Franca joined in the summer of 2002, meaning he played a part in Leverkusen's historic 01/02 campaign.

'Die Werkself' came second in the Bundesliga and runners-up in the Champions League that season and surpassed all expectations.

That Champions League final is fondly remembered for Zinedine Zidane's outrageous volley that's one of the competitions greatest ever goals.

Berbatov was on the pitch that evening at Hampden Park and he recalled the events.

"I didn't expect we would get to the final. In fact, I didn't even know or appreciate what it was," Berbatov added. "I was just a young boy sitting on the bench. If you don't realise the importance of a moment, then you can stop thinking what if I make a mistake?

"You want to play and enjoy. In that way, I didn't think at all. The one thing that scared me wasn't that it was the final of the Champions League, it was facing Raul, Zidane, Luis Figo and Roberto Carlos. You sit there as a fanboy.

"This was the first time it happened to me. I came into the game in the 39th minute; you show respect for the players and you are scared to touch them, let alone tackle them. You see him going past you with the ball; you are saying Berba, f**king tackle him. Just tackle him.

"But you cannot allow yourself to do it because you respect them. I am f*cking facing Zidane. I can't believe it. We changed nothing for the final, played our way. We were this close to doing something.

Image Credit: PA
Image Credit: PA

"This was the first time it happened to me. I came into the game in the 39th minute; you show respect for the players and you are scared to touch them, let alone tackle them. You see him going past you with the ball; you are saying Berba, f*cking tackle him. Just tackle him.

"But you cannot allow yourself to do it because you respect them. I am f*cking facing Zidane. I can't believe it. We changed nothing for the final, played our way. We were this close to doing something."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football News, Football, Manchester United, Carlos Tevez, Bayer Leverkusen, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney

Daniel Marland

Daniel is a freelance journalist for SPORTbible and covers a variety of sports. He also has past experience of working at Manchester United and once locked eyes with Jose Mourinho. He lived to tell the tale.

 

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