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When Panserraikos would have acquired Berbatov

08 September 2015 / 13:09:08  GRReporter
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A few days ago lead striker and top scorer Dimitar Berbatov became a player of Thessaloniki team PAOK. His arrival in Greece has caused a media storm and the expectations of fans are for PAOK to win the local championship with the help of the Bulgarian player and to be successful in Europe.

A little known fact is that this was not the first time that the Greek team wanted to include Berbatov in its ranks. The difference however was that the scorer was just beginning his football career at that time.

The Greek sports news site presents the events that took place in the already distant 1996, when the striker was very close to a transfer to Serres’ Panserraikos team. Club president of the time Vassilis Karantinidis was in very good relations with the Bulgarian Pirin club and this friendship had good consequences for both teams. Panserraikos players had training sessions in Bulgaria, where Pirin club covered all the relevant expenses. The same applied for the Bulgarian team in Greece. Negotiations for the transfer of a Pirin player to the team of the "lions" started at that time, which were not successful.

Ilia Redzhev phoned Karantinidis and told him that a very talented player of the youth team wanted to play in Panserraikos. There was even an agreement with the player’s father regarding his relocation to Serres. The negotiations continued for quite some time but financial problems prevented Panserraikos from successfully concluding them.

About two months later Karantinidis left the managerial post of Panserraikos having held it for eight years and the team of Serres had to say goodbye to the opportunity of acquiring talented player Dimitar Berbatov.

At that time the football player was 15-16 years old and had proposals from many teams. He however preferred Panserraikos because of the friendly relations between Redzhev and Karantinidis, and because he thought it would be easier to move to a big European club through Panserraikos.

According to the publication, Berbatov was concerned that he would sign a professional contract next season, thus being "blocked" by another team. The website recalls that Belgian Jean-Marc Bosman managed to win lawsuits against his team RFK Liege, the Belgian Football Association and UEFA at that time, which resulted in changes introduced in the basic rules of the transfer policy.

Ultimately, the uncertainty in Panserraikos and the fact that Berbatov was not convinced he would be able to achieve his goal caused the transfer to fail.

Shortly afterwards the player received a summons to join the army to serve his time as a soldier. CSKA Sofia immediately took advantage of the chance to acquire the talented striker.

In 1999, during one of his first appearances with the Bulgarian national team, Berbatov played in a friendly match against Greece at Kozani stadium. The match ended 1:0 in favour of the Greek nationals and Berbatov entered the field in the place of another player.

Panserraikos' former president and his friend Ilia Redzhev were in the stands. When Karantinidis sought Redzhev’s opinion of Berbatov, he replied, "He is scoring when he is not playing well and scoring many goals when he is playing well."

Tags: SportsFootballDimitar BerbatovTransferPanserraikosCSKA
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