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Dimitar Berbatov, Igor Tudor and the Cobra

09 October 2015 / 15:10:41  GRReporter
2297 reads

Maria S. Topalova
    The sports media in Greece report that Dimitar Berbatov and Igor Tudor were visibly irritated by the information in the Bulgarian media about a conflict between the Bulgarian football star and the Croatian coach of PAOK. "I am surprised you can write such things. I have no conflict with Berbatov," said Tudor before the Bulgarian media in Thessaloniki.
    Conflict is a strong word, it implies a sharp and systematic opposition that is not really present in that particular case. It may have been inadvertently used by the Bulgarian colleagues or the inadvertence may have been intentional. You know, there are eternal topics that are always read, such as Berbatov on the reserve bench, Grigor Dimitrov and his problems... The Cobra is a different thing, he is a male. How to write anything bad about him...


    It is more accurate to say that the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov has changed PAOK’s playing and psychological reality and Igor Tudor must manage this changed reality. On the one hand, the team now has greater ambitions and on the other, some changes are taking place in the team - established local eminent persons and posts, considered safe until recently, already have competition. And on the field, Berbatov seems isolated, no teammate passes to him.
    "I am very sorry that we could not take him in Olympiakos," told me one of the most popular TV football commentators in Greece and inveterate fan of the team from Piraeus, who was watching in person the PAOK-Olympiakos match at Tumba stadium. According to him, the team of Thessaloniki will not be able to benefit from the talents of Berbatov because it is far below his level. "Lionel Messi would not be what he is if he were not playing in a team like Barcelona," said another commentator.


    The responsibility for how the Bulgarian football star will work together with his new teammates from Thessaloniki on the field rests almost entirely on the shoulders of Igor Tudor. "Dimitar and I were opponents in the past. But it is part of the coach's job. Especially when you are a young coach, sooner or later you will happen to work together with opponents. Our relationship is special and it should be based on mutual respect," the 37-year-old Croat omnisciently told the Croatian website gol.dnevnik.hr.
    There is no conflict, but Tudor has been criticized by other Greek coaches for not including Berbatov as titular in the derby with Olympiakos, which Thessalonians lost 0:2, playing in a fragmented, weak and meaningless manner. "My own philosophy is to include from the first minute of the match whatever best I have available. Berbatov is a player who would have created problems for Olympiakos even while it warmed up," coach Sakis Tsiolis told radio ArenaFM 89.4, criticizing the fact that Berbatov was left on the bench in such a difficult match. "If the player is exhausted or if he has not reached the desired level, you can support him by a second striker. We need to support players who are able to determine the outcome of a match. Berbatov came for such matches. With him the foursome of PAOK in attacks is equivalent to that of Olympiakos," says Tsiolis.


    Let us pragmatically consider the inclusion of Dimitar Berbatov in the PAOK team, looking at the statistics given by the website sport24.gr. It recalls that the Bulgarian has not played in matches since last spring, when he was still wearing the Monaco jersey. In the summer, he trained alone and when he came to Thessaloniki, his ergo-metric indexes were excellent. Mitko was out on the field still on 12 September in the match in Veria and played 32 minutes in the place of Klaus Athanasiadis. In the next two matches, namely against Gabala and AEK he was also included as a reserve and played on the field an average of 31 minutes. On 27 September, Berbatov again played 32 minutes against Atromitos Athens, when he scored his first goal for PAOK.
    Early in the season, Igor Tudor announced that Berbatov would debut as titular in the match with Borussia Dortmund and so it happened. Mitko played 89 minutes and he was replaced at the end of the match but rather for tactical reasons. In the derby with Olympiakos, however, he entered the match in the second half when it was already lost, and therefore he played 260 minutes on the field, wearing the jersey of PAOK.


    Currently the Greek championship is on vacation because of the matches of the national team and Igor Tudor is promising that after it resumes, Berbatov will be 100% in the game. The Bulgarian player is involved in the training sessions with the rest of the team whereas in the gym he performs a personal programme to improve his physical condition.
    The next match of the black-and-white team will be against the other Thessaloniki club, Iraklis, and will take place at 8:30 pm on 18 October.

Tags: Dimitar BerbatovPAOKIgor TudorConflictMatch with OlympiakosMatch with IraklisGreek Football Championship
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