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Ruud Is Better Than Berba

I never thought I would say this, but I miss Ruud van Nistelrooy. I know he had his critics, but he was the right fit for United. It’s unfortunate that not playing him in the 2006 Carling Cup final in favor of Saha was the final straw. This was one of Fergusons not so bright moments as a manager when your ego gets the better of you.

The performance’s of Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov (don’t get me started) over the past year has brought into question United’s attack upfront. If this weeks Champions League tie with Porto proved anything, is that Dimitar is pasturing and Carlos Tevez isn’t there. Whether it is his love for Boca Juniors or something else, he (Tevez) is not worth 30 million pounds. Nor is Berbatov. He reminds me of a Ruud van Nistelrooy, but lankier and not as aggressive in the penalty area. Van Nistelrooy if memory serves me right, netted a goal tally of 36 in his first season for the Red Devils. Berbatov only netted in 27 goals for Tottenham in his 70 appearances for them. For United this season Berbatov has only put in 8 (EPL) past the wood work in 29 appearances. I am not saying that it’s easy to score in the Premier League, but United is just not the right fit for Berbatov.

Tevez on the other hand is a real bother. With only 24 appearances he’s put in 3 (EPL) past the keeper. He is a pit bull on the pitch, fighting for every ball like it was his last game. Unfortunately, his inconsistency over the past few matches has fallen short of impressive. Yes he did score the go ahead goal against Porto and netted one in at the cottage, but I don’t believe he is worth keeping around. He is good to have as a substitute to bring on and bolster the team spirit. One week he is cold the next he’s hot. He’s just not that convincing.

Here are some stats about Rooney, Berbatov and Tevez’s defensive play.

(Per Game)

Berbatov 0,82 won tackles, 1,21 intercepted attacks
Rooney 0,44 won tackles, 1,16 intercepted attacks
Tevez 0,46 won tackles, 0,38 intercepted attacks

Fine, granted Berbatov is shielding the ball well enough and can flick the ball on to a winger in full flight, but that’s not enough offensive power. In my opinion Berbatov is great for a team like Tottenham, Fulham, Sunderland, and Stoke, but not for United.

Ferguson should have never sold Van Nistelrooy because he never wanted to leave in the first place. Here is some glimpse into what Berbatov won’t be able to do:

I say bring on Macheda, give the young lad a chance. Soon he’ll put in more then Tevez and Berbatov combined.

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  1. Johnson

    April 22, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Ruud has always been much, much better than Berba. It’s only the press that hyped Berba so much prior to his arrival that’s caused people like you to think that Berba is even a rival to Ruud. Ruud has consistently shown himself to be in the top 3 best strikers over the last decade or so.

  2. Andrew

    April 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    This is an obvious one. Of course we love Ruud. He was top notch when he played for you united, but he was a drama queen at the end and wouldn’t play nice with Cristiano and that is a no-no in the united book as Ronaldo is clearly worth more now. As for berba no shit we are furious at him after last week, but when he is healthy he does have a skill for effortlessly setting up some great chances.

  3. Mike

    April 20, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Berbatov has yet to impress, but sometimes it takes a while, look at Henry at Barcelona now.
    Tevez is worth keeping, don’t know his price tag, but he’s worth just as much as a Berbatov. Tevez needs more consistent time and in a consistent position, he’s got what it takes to shine in the EPL.

  4. CMG

    April 19, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Good to know Man U supporters are not simply wearing the rose-colored glasses on Berbatov. Tevez, he has been sub-par this season and his sell to Man U was indeed overpriced, but some other club I am sure are pining for his services. Not that I would want my club to have him but some club certainly would and should.

  5. SSReporters

    April 19, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Berba is not worth the 30 million pound transfer fee. ESPECIALLY with that dreadful penalty. What’s he passing the ball into the net for?

    Same goes for Tevez. He’s not worth his money and his first touch and shot quality is awful.

  6. Eric

    April 19, 2009 at 2:10 pm


    I do see your point and agree with it to some degree. Berbatov is an exceptional player. He holds the ball well and allows others to make runs. I personally believe that that is a secondary function of a forward. Maybe by your description he could be a fantastic attacking midfielder, but when it comes to playing up front and being what a striker should be, he does not possess this as much as Rooney, or even Macheda for that matter. Macheda, in my opinion, is a better fit than Berbatov because he makes superb runs, shoots well, has a knack for showing up when he’s needed. I’m not disputing whether Berbatov is a great player, he is. I am disputing whether he’s a better fit for United than Ruud, which in my opinion he is not. And as for Sir Alex going for players like Villa and Huntelaar, there’s a difference between him going for them and them actually wanting to go to United. For some reason, strikers prefer to play elsewhere like Madrid or in Italy or even Chelsea. I’m sure Sir Alex has shown interest in them, just they haven’t shown it back.

  7. peposhi

    April 19, 2009 at 9:32 am

    Ah, I forgot – if Sir Alex was looking for a RVN type of player, he’d have gotten Villa or Huntelaar. He clearly shows you what are his plans…

  8. peposhi

    April 19, 2009 at 9:28 am

    To address Eric:
    As you have noticed, Berba hasn’t scored as many goals as he use to in Spurs. But can’t you see that his role on the pitch is quite different. He is the one to hold the ball upfront and to build the attacks using the space he’s has created with his movement. Clear example was the game against Porto – without him the play has moved dangerously in Man United’s area and we looked so fragile with no one to keep the ball away from the opponents.
    You have to take into consideration that in our team we’ve got world class strikers able to score goal from almost impossible positions, which gives them the confidence to use their skills and not look for someone else to do that. Berba is in a great position many times and he doesn’t get the ball, which would have happened, had he been in other club. There is a reason why Sir Alex plays him so deep and I’d tell you next season will be very different. For me, Ronaldo will be gone this summer, as well as Tevez and the attack will be build around Berbatov and Rooney + Macheda substitute…

  9. Eric

    April 18, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    To address Spurs Fan, I agree with you that Berba and Ruud play a different style. The style Berba plays with is what Spurs may need, but definitely not what a superb team like United need. Come on, 30 million pounds for what? A lanky forward (doesn’t deserve to be called a striker since lack of goals), who can shield well and give the ball off to midfielders in position. That’s all fine and well, but in terms of the caliber of strikers United is used to, and the foolish amount of money spent on him, definitely not up to par. Berbatov should’ve stayed at Tottenham, where he actually fits into the system. United need a striker who can do it all, like a Torres or Van Nistelrooy in this case. Possibly the worst sale Sir Alex ever made. Great article by the way mate. I’m sure I ain’t the only supporter who’d love to see Ruud upfront for us again.

  10. gaurav

    April 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    i fully agree to jay wateva he said about tevez…there is no doubt he won manutd last season and 1 more thng i wil lik 2 remind u ppl he was d second highest goal scorer from manutd after ronaldo last season …he jst needs starts and confidence from the manager. and m sure if manu doesnt sign him after d end of d season he wil get into any club he wants and will prove hes own ability.

    about berba, well i hav to say he isnt manu style player ofcourse.he seems lazy whn he holds a possesion of ball, no great run in penalty area and m dieing to see 1 good strike frm him from more thn 25-30 yards like most of other strikers do attemp.

  11. cftv

    April 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Ruud’s bust up with Ronaldo on the training pitch where he insulted Ronaldo about his dead dad was RVN’s ticket out of town. Fergie choose to keep Ronaldo and sold RVN. Plus given RVN”s issue with his knees as he has been in and out of Real Madrid’s line up and United winning the league in 07 and 08 as well as the CL after RVN was sold it was probably a wise choice to sell him when they did.

    That said if RVN was a few years younger and didn’t have dodgy knees I am sure that Fergie would have kept him around and forced him and Ronaldo to play with each other like he got them to play with each other after Ronaldo got Rooney sent off in the World Cup with a wink.

    RVN is one of my favorite players to have played at United and I hated that they sold them but the Club faired better without him than with him. I much prefer RVN over Berba in their primes but right now Berba can play while RVN is out the rest of the season in Madrid after another knee surgery.

    I would love nothing more than for RVN to come back from another horrible injury and score a bucketload of goals for a Real Madrid, Manchester City, Juventus, PSV, or especially in Colorado for the Rapids where he can be neighbors with his world class surgeon Richard Steadmen. Even RSL wouldn’t be that bad since its a short flight to Denver and the Real Madrid/Real Salt Lake link. 🙂

  12. Claire

    April 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    Ruud is/was better than Berba?

    Well, yeah…

  13. sk

    April 18, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Ruud is probably the greatest striker in the world ever in terms of goal scoring ability and technique. He is definitely a better striker but Ruud’s style seemed to have limited Ronaldo’s productivity. The front 3 at the moment can interchange anytime during the game which is what Man United seem to do well with. As they want to attack fast.

    Berbatov gives that option where he can switch behind and allow Ronaldo or Rooney to advance. Tevez can also do the same but the only problem is he is short and Berbatov seems to be ahead because he is more different from Rooney than Tevez is.

  14. anton

    April 18, 2009 at 11:21 am

    berbatov is a better midfield player than a striker. do you not remember CR and Ruud could not stand each other. Pick one CR or RVL. I’d pick CR too. Look at what he’s become. CR would have never spread his wings if ruud was still there. In fact, after the fight it looked like ron prob would have left for Real Madrid.

  15. jay

    April 18, 2009 at 2:47 am

    sorry 2 pts decided the title last season, not 1

  16. jay

    April 18, 2009 at 2:46 am

    Tevez hasn’t been that great this season, I’ll give you that. However, I think its lack of confidence due to berba coming in more than anything. Last year, Tevez got the starts, Tevez had the confidence… and ya know what? Tevez singlehandedly won the EPL for United. Bold statement, right? Well, consider what he did. He put in the game tying/game winning goals against blackburn, liverpool, and more opponents in the dying minutes of matches. The EPL was decided by 1 point last season. That point was due to one of Tevez’s many dramatic performances…. take your pick as to which one.

    Give him the confidence, give him the starts, and he can shine. Throw in a wrench in the system (berba) and anyone would have to adjust. No matter if its tevez or any other striker. Playing through berba requires a different style of play than playing through the rooney and tevez combo. Agree with your berba comments, and don’t disagree that tevez has been poor this season. But, I think he’s been poor because of berba’s presence in the “new” system.

  17. Patrick

    April 18, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Yes Ruud was the sort of player that endeared Man U to the masses with his class and sportsmanship.

    Reference this clip of Ruud playing for Holland v the ever mighty Andorra.

    I hear this Ruud argument from Man U fans all the time, and before him it was Becks. I am not a fan obviously of the mancs but there must be a reason old red nose sends players packing when he does. It’s not like he hasn’t got results. I just don’t get the point of this. When did Ruud last play for United? three seasons ago? clearly those relegation battles since has been worrisome.

  18. Erik United fan

    April 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Definately was a big mistake selling Van Nistelrooy. He was everything you wanted in poucher strikersin the 18 yard box. His aerial presance was always felt. The Rooney partnership worked really well. With the attack threat being a bit lack luster, now the aerial assault comes from Vidic on set pieces or corner kicks. Berba is alot like Gumby, gangly like, almost about to loose the ball any time he touches it. He hasn’t convinced me at all. Neither has Tevez. I agree with your last point. Mechada is a diamond in the rough. Just needs some polishing. If he has luck on his side, more power to the lad. Could only get better. Any article can do with stats, nice job on that m8. Cheers!

  19. RIP

    April 17, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    United was better last year. I think Berba kills the attack. I don’t know why people like him so much. I don’t think Tevez is worth 30 millions but he suits United much better with Rooney and Ronaldo in the squad.

  20. matt

    April 17, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    whatta douche.

  21. Ivan

    April 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Ruud is the ultimate penalty box goalscorer. That being said, he cannot touch the class, touch, creativity, talent, and overall contribution of Berba. As long as he stays injury-free, Berba will be as influential as Cantona for United.

  22. Spurs Fan

    April 17, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    What a silly foray into nonsense. Ruud and Berbatov don’t even play the same precise position. It is fine to miss Ruud, and to recognize that he scores more goals than Berbatov shows awareness, but to compare the two based on goals scored, which is precisely what you did, is quite ludicrous. At least also look at assists and passing contribution and attempt a more nuanced article.

  23. Patrick

    April 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    and who says Man U fans are a bunch of moaning children…

    FFS you have the best team in the world get over yourself.

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