Dimitar Berbatov, a player known for his silky touches, will be plying his trade in the Indian Super League with Kerala Blasters this season.
The arrival of the Bulgarian has created big excitement among the Kerala fans. Indian football fans are also very eager to see his beautiful first touches and score some goals.
The arrival of the former Manchester United fan has already made the Kerala Blasters early contenders for the title. Overall there is a big fuss about his arrival in India, but is he the biggest player to have played in the Indian Super League?
Wage – is he the biggest earner?
The former Tottenham striker will be earning around £50,000-£60,000 per week, which is a huge amount considering the fact that he has been a free agent since 2016 and is 36-years old. However, the wage might sound fair when we think about the quality he can bring to India and Kerala Blasters.
Despite the big wage, Berbatov is not the biggest earner in the ISL history. Two time champions Atletico de Kolkata (the team name is expected to change after Spanish giants Atletico Madrid cancelled all tie-ups with franchise), have signed former Liverpool striker Robbie Keane this season and if the reports are to be believed he will be earning slightly more than his former Tottenham teammate.
However, the biggest earner in the ISL history is Italian legend Alessandro Del Piero, who played for the Delhi Dynamos in 2014. The former Juventus player reportedly earned around £75,000-£80,000 per week.
Why all the hype?
Berbatov is not the highest earner in the ISL history, nor is he the highest earner this season. Robbie Keane is earning more than him and the Irish striker has also scored more goals than the Bulgarian in club football. Both of them do not have much age difference.
Despite all these, Berbatov coming to India is more hyped than Keane coming to India. Berbatov is one of the most exciting signings in the ISL. Why?
The reason behind Berbatov creating more excitement than Keane is that the fans are aware of the quality the striker has despite being 36-years old. Berbatov last played for Greek club PAOK in the 2015/16 season and even appeared in five Champions League matches.
Before his stint with PAOK, Berbatov was with Monaco for one season in 2014. He was bought by the club as a replacement for Radamel Falcao.
Before joining Monaco, the former Bayer Leverkusen player was in the Premier League for eight years. During his eight years in England he played for Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspurs and Fulham.
Despite being a free agent for one year, the man with the silky touch was involved in highly competitive tournaments until 2016. Robbie Keane, on the other hand, was with LA Galaxy for five years until 2016. He had a loan stint with Aston Villa in 2012.
The MLS is a developing league and is quite competitive, but comparing to the Premier League, Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League it is still a weaker league. So, it is easy to think that Berbatov will have more quality in him than Keane when they perform in India this season.
Berbatov is very exciting signing also because of his achievements during his time with Manchester United. The 36-year old has three Premier League medals and Keane do not even have one to boast of.
These two reasons pretty much sums up why people are more excited about Berbatov than Keane. However, this does not mean no one is watching the former Liverpool man. The Irish legend is expected to rival Berbatov for the Golden Boot and we meet see a great competetion between the former teammates.
The biggest beneficiary
The biggest beneficiary of Berbatov’s arrival will be the Kerala Blasters players, especially the strikers.
C.K Vineeth is one of the biggest Indian names in the Kerala Blasters team. The Malayali (a person from Kerala) will be expecting to make a great partnership with the Bulgarian.
The local striker is 29-years old and is on the peak of his career. He can learn a few first touch and goalscoring lessons from Berbatov to push his career further forward.
Arrival of Berbatov in India is very exciting and the fans are waiting to see the impact he is going to make in the country. Kerala Blasters is also a great team for the player.
The fans of the club might not be no where near the Red Devils fans, but they are definitely one of the best in the country. The Kerala Blasters fans are known for filling up the stadium and creating huge yellow waves.
The club have an average home attendance of about 50,000. In 2016, Kerala Blasters boasted an average attendance of about 49,000. It has to be noted that the second best average attendance in 2016 was 26,728.
In a nutshell, Berbatov with Kerala Blasters will be a treat to watch and it won’t be a big surprise if they manage to life the cup at the end of the season.