Dimitar Berbatov admits he felt "mixed emotions" when former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson apologised for dropping him for the 2010/11 Champions League final against Barcelona.
To the surprise of many – mainly Berbatov – the Bulgarian was omitted from the matchday squad for the Wembley showpiece, which United lost 3-1.
Red Devils legend Ferguson apologised for the decision in the foreword for the well-travelled striker's upcoming autobiography, My Way and out in English.
And Fergie's words, understandably, had a profound effect on the 39-year-old.
“When I first saw what he had written I felt some very mixed emotions,” Berbatov told The Guardian.
“First of all, you have to be really strong as a personality to say ‘I’m sorry’ and the fact that he did only shows what kind of person Sir Alex is.
"His words made me feel good. However, I wouldn’t say I was surprised because I always thought I had a place in the team for that particular game.
"But that is now in the past and you can’t turn back the time.”
Manchester United's next seven matches in all competitions
Newcastle United (a) – Premier League, Oct 17
Paris Saint-Germain (a) – Champions League, Oct 20
Chelsea (h) – Premier League, Oct 24
RB Leipzig (h) – Champions League, Oct 28
Arsenal (h) – Premier League, Nov 1
Istanbul Basaksehir (a), Champions League, Nov 4
Everton (a) – Premier League, Nov 7
Berbatov's acceptance of Ferguson's decision stems from his realisation that managers have to make tough calls for the team's benefit.
He added: "I know that if some day I am the manager and my team plays in a cup final, I will have to do the same thing not only to one of my players but to a few of them.
"Now I’m trying to see all these things from a manager’s perspective.”
“Our relationship is good,” Berbatov continued. “There’s nothing to forgive him for. I’ve never had any bad feelings, I was just disappointed [with his decision].
"At first, I reacted impulsively and was really upset. But then, as time goes by, you start to realise what that decision was about.
“Having said that, if I could play any game again it would be that one, the 2011 Champions League final against Barcelona.
"That season I was United’s top scorer and I finished as [joint] top scorer in the Premier League as well. I was in great form and I had the feeling I would score every time I took a shot. I think I could have helped the team in that game.”
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