Dimitar Berbatov Manchester UnitedGetty

Dimitar Berbatov joins Kerala Blasters on a one-year deal

Dimitar Berbatov, who has been out of contract since 2016 summer, has joined Indian Super League (ISL) side Kerala Blasters on a one-year deal, in what is a big coup for the 2016 ISL finalists. 

The Bulgarian will be a marquee signing for the Blasters, meaning his wages will not come under the salary cap set for every team. The club announcement the big news on Wednesday evening.  

The 36-year-old forward, who last featured for Greek side PAOK FC in 2015, had remained a free agent until the Yellow Army approached him a few weeks ago. This was after the player revealed in April that he held talks with David Moyes about a move to Sunderland and is keen to find himself another Premier League club.

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However, Kerala Blasters head coach Rene Meulensteen has now managed to rope in two of his former players to play for him once again, having concluded a deal for centre-back Wes Brown earlier.

Dimitar Berbatov started playing professional football with Bulgarian club CSKA Sofia at 17 years of age. His incredible talent was quickly spotted by German side Bayer Leverkusen, for whom he accumulated more than 100 appearances between 2001 and 2006.

He then made the switch to English Premier League with Tottenham Hotspur in a transfer that made him the most expensive Bulgarian footballer, in the summer of 2006. 

Dimitar Berbatov

After a fine start to his life in London, Berbatov began to grab headlines for his performances which alerted Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. Close to transfer deadline in the summer of 2008, Manchester United signed the Bulgarian striker from Tottenham in a deal worth £30.75m.

Berbatov went on to make more than 100 appearances for the Red Devils between 2008 and 2012. He shared the Golden Boot in the 2010-11 season with Carlos Tevez, notably scoring five goals in a match when Manchester United thrashed Blackburn Rovers 7-1.

The latest Kerala Blasters signing then joined Fulham in 2012 where he played a few games under Rene Meulensteen but that partnership did not last. He switched leagues to join Monaco and then Greek side PAOK FC.

At the age of 36, he will now undertake a new challenge along with his former teammate and coach in India with the Kochi-based club. 

The team management, often criticised in the past, has been proactive in ensuring the best talents turn out for the Men in Yellow this season, evidenced by the return of fan favourite Iain Hume and the retention of CK Vineeth and Sandesh Jhingan.

And now, the arrival of Berbatov further vindicates their commitment to the cause as the team gears up to finally clinch the trophy that they narrowly missed out on two occasions.