Former Premier League striker Dimitar Berbatov has admitted that there were at least three teams he would have preferred to have joined before eventually moving to Tottenham back in July 2006.
Following 91 goals in 202 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen in the early 2000s, the Bulgarian forward was one of Europe's hottest prospects having thoroughly impressed in the Bundesliga.
As a result, Berbatov was widely sought after and eventually ended up making his move to Tottenham in 2006 as he looked to further his career. The striker enjoyed great success with Spurs over a two-year period with the club, but he has now admitted that north London wasn't his preferred destination.
During an interview with talkSPORT, Berbatov revealed that he had hoped for an immediate move to one of the world's biggest clubs, listing off Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United as three teams he wished had come calling for him before a move to White Hart Lane.
“I was like, 'wait a minute, Spurs want me? What? Not Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United?'," the 39-year-old confessed. "I was thinking all these stupid questions because I was thinking I was doing so well that a big team must come after me.
"When you’re young, you think you know everything. You think you have all the answers to all the questions, but you have nothing. Again, my intuition will start working the same, ‘Berbs now is the right time, difficult but we need to challenge ourselves’.
“In the end, their [Spurs'] persistence was a big factor for me, and of course, meeting [manager] Martin Jol was the moment I knew I had to go there.”
Following several prosperous years with the Lilywhites, Berbatov did eventually secure his dream move to Manchester United, joining the club in 2008 and spending four trophy-laden years at Old Trafford.
However, one trophy Berbatov couldn't get his hands on in Manchester was the Champions League, and the forward also opened up on his devastating omission from the squad for the 2011 final which the Red Devils lost 3-1 to Barcelona.
"It was just before the game, he [Ferguson] called me and said ‘Berbs, it’s killing me, but I need to leave you out’," said Berbatov.
? “Sir Alex called & said ‘It’s killing me but I need to leave you out’.”— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) April 28, 2020
? “It was painful, I was the goalscorer of the team.”
Dimitar Berbatov says he was shocked to miss #MUFC’s 2011 UCL final ❌
? Hear Dimitar discuss his career on ‘Up Front With...’ tonight at 7pm pic.twitter.com/oIuLXMgIzh
"So it was like that and it was painful to hear that because I was a goalscorer of the team and of the Premier League. I was surprised because I felt so confident if I can shoot from somewhere, it’s going to go in. So that was a surprise for me, but in the end it was like that."