The Sun has a great article out today on Spurs great striker Dimitar Berbatov who it turns out grew up worshiping Alan Shearer â€” and slept in the No 9 Newcastle shirt.
Berbatov was given the number 9 Newcastle United shirt for his 18th birthday and ended up sleeping in it.
Apparently thatâ€™s why he chose the number 9 shirt when he moved to Tottenham.
Dimitar Berbatov – with that famous number 9 Newcastle shirt
The 26 year old Bulgarian will have the opportunity on Monday evening to feel the atmosphere his idol Big Al felt when he played for Newcastle United. But weâ€™ll need to make sure he doesnâ€™t replicate what Big Al kept doing â€“ scoring goals. Shearer scored 206 goals for Newcastle United in his 10 years at the club and is one of the best players ever to wear a Newcastle shirt. The fact that Alan was born and raised in Gosforth doesnâ€™t hurt the image either.
Dimitarâ€™s mother is a former champion handball player, and recalled how the number 9 Alan Shearer shirt became her sonâ€™s prized possession.
His mother said:
â€œDimitar wore this shirt all the time.â€ â€œHe even used to sleep in his Newcastle shirt! Itâ€™s that special to him.â€
â€œDimitar told me it was his dream to play for Newcastle United one day and wear the same shirt as Alan Shearer, who is my sonâ€™s hero.â€
â€œShearer was a major inspiration for him to work hard for himself and the team. He liked the fact that Alan Shearer scored goals but was not a selfish player.â€
â€œDimitar thinks this shirt may even have been a sign he was meant to play in England.â€
Dimitarâ€™s father was also a footballer and played striker CSKA Sofia. But his son solidly supported the Magpies and not Sofia when he was growing up. Itâ€™s rumored that Dimitar even has Alanâ€™s famous pre-match meal of chicken and beans.
Dimitarâ€™s school friend Mario Bekov has known Berbatov for 20 years and says his pal was just obsessed with Shearer.
â€œDimitar never missed a Newcastle game when it was on television. And Shearer was up there with Pele as a God for him.â€
Stefan Damianov is another former pal who says his pal considered himself an honorary Geordie as he followed Newcastle and grew up in a mining region of Blagoevgrad, just like the north east area.
â€œPeople in this part of Bulgaria like the Newcastle team especially and identify themselves with the football-mad culture of the people there and loyalty to the team.â€
Thereâ€™s no doubt Berbatov is a great player and his first season in the Premiership was very successful. Things have been harder for him this season and he has just 2 goals after 9 games, but he will be a constant danger to Newcastle on Monday night, because of his undoubted class.
His mum added:
â€œDimitar has told me heâ€™s hungry to win cups and wants to play in the Champions League in the next few years.â€
Well there’s one thing that is clear and that is his parents should be very proud of their son who has done really well in England in the last year or so. Itâ€™s just a pity that Dimitar didnâ€™t get on the phone for a trial with Newcastle United when he was 18 years old in 1999. But then again maybe he did, but Ruud Gullit answered itÂ Â 😀