ISL 2017: Why new Kerala Blasters signing Dimitar Berbatov is training separately with a European club?
Last month, Kerala Blasters sent shockwaves around Indian football when they announced the signing of former Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov. The team bolstered their squad with the addition of the master of the golden touch, utilising his good relations with head coach Rene Muelensteen. Berbatov penned a deal with the Kochi-based Indian Super League outfit for a whopping ?2.31 crores, contrary to earlier reports of an inflated salary.
However, the Bulgarian legend is yet to fully integrate into the Blasters setup for the upcoming season and is working on regaining full fitness back home in Bulgaria.
The 36-year-old has already started training in order to get back to his best shape. Currently, Berbatov is using the facilities at CSKA Sofia to do his individual training routines, according to Bulgarian writer Metodi Shumanov.
Last week, Berbatov also featured in a friendly with Bulgarian top flight outfit Beroe in a friendly against the Bulgaria U21s. "He's working hard, he wants to keep a good shape," commented Shumanov when asked about Berbatov, who was supposed to join Beroe on a short-term deal before putting pen to paper with the Blasters.
In a bid to regain his lost fitness, Berbatov is training with multiple Bulgarian teams. The 36-year-old has been out of competitive football for more than a year now after leaving PAOK in Greece, hence the extra effort from his end to make his time at Kerala Blasters a memorable one.
Furthermore, Shumanov also confirmed that Berbatov will feature for another Bulgarian great Hristo Stoichkov's team against Barcelona's Dream Team on September 20th which will be broadcasted on Barca TV. For Barcelona's Dream Team, the likes of Eric Abidal, Gianluca Zambrotta, Fernando Couto, Edgar Davids are expected to feature.
It is also understood that the Bulgarian legend will join the team next month during Kerala Blasters' Spanish preseason tour. Muelensteen said: "Both players(Berbatov and Brown) were very enthusiastic about coming to play football in India for Kerala Blasters. As we all know many of the Kerala fans are also Manchester United fans and together we hope we can bring some of that flavor to Kerala. It's great to work with them again as they will bring a lot of experience and quality to the team. We all know what to expect from each other."
With the languid Berbatov working harder than ever before, Kerala Blasters' fans could be in for a treat this season.