Former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has claimed he now understands Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to leave him out of the United squad that played Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League final.
Despite the Bulgarian being a joint top scorer in the Premier League as we lifted our 19th league title, 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 Bulgarian admits now he understands Ferguson’s decision.
“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.”