ManU Striker Berbatov Delights Fellow Bulgarian Expats in Chicago

Sports | July 24, 2011, Sunday // 12:56|  views

Bulgarian expats, including actor Ivan Angelov (center) watchs the game between the Red Devils, featuring striker Dimitar Berbatov, and Chicago Fire. Photo by Eurochicago

Manchester United defeated Saturday in a friendly game the Chicago Fire with the participation of Bulgaria's football star, striker Dimitar Berbatov.

The game was held at the 60 000-seat Soldier Field at a temperature of 31 degrees Celsius and high humidity at 4 pm local time (midnight in Bulgaria), as reported by Eurochicago, the largest web portal in Bulgarian in North America. All tickets were sold out.

The face-off was held on the same field where in 1994, during the World Cup, the Bulgarian National Football Team set on the road to its greatest success so far – the third place.

Hundreds of Bulgarians were among the spectators, and millions more watched the game on ESPN, with commentators saying they have not seen this many Bulgarian fans since the time of the other big football star, Hristo Stoichkov.

Chicago is the home of the largest Bulgarian community in North America.

As the manager of the ManU, Alex Ferguson, promised Saturday, Dimitar Berbatov, made the roaster and entered the game during first half along with Gea, Fabio, Jones, Smalling, Evra (C), Cleverly, Carrick, Obertan, Diouf, and Welbeck.

The hosts, to everyone's, even local fans', surprise scored in the 13th minute.

At half-time, the scorrer of the goal, Cory Gibbs, had asked Berbatov to have his t-shirt as souvenir, but, expecting to play during second half, the Bulgarian had politely refused. Nevertheless, Berbatov was replaced by Wayne Rooney, who scored during the 66th minute of the second part of the game.

The game ended with 1:3 for the Red Devils, after two more goals – of Da Silva Rafael and Luis Nani.

Ten minutes before the game some of the disappointed local fans started leaving the field.

Eurochicago further reports that even the training practice of the Red Devils attracted huge interest with 500 fans from all over the world in attendance, the most of them – Bulgarian expats. The joy of Berbatov's visit to the city had been, however, marred by the high ticket price for those wishing to see the practice – USD 100 for everyone age 2 and older.

"Bulgarians had to remember lessons learned during the time of Socialism and found a way from the difficult situation by going around the fence. One of them, Valentin Voynov, was so wise he managed to even reach the coaches' team headquarters and talk to Ferguson," Eurochicago writes.

A video of the latter can be seen HERE.

Meanwhile, writes that Berbatov was delighted with the response from fans in Chicago as many Bulgarian expats have shown him their support in training since his arrival.

"There are a lot of Bulgarians here (in the US). They always come out to training and speak with me and in the games they are always there with the Bulgarian flags. It makes you feel like you're not far away from home," Berbatov told the Chicago Tribune.

The next ManU game from their US tour is on July 27 in New Jersey while the most anticipated one will be on July 30 in Washington DC against Barcelona.

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Tags: Bulgarian expats, game, Manchester Uniter, Red Devils, striker, Dimitar Berbatov, Chicago Fire, Soldier Field, Chicago, fans, football


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