Football Football

Berbatov blasted for Fiorentina U-turn


ROME, Italy, August 30 – Serie A side Fiorentina have hit out at Italian champions Juventus for alleged interference in their ultimately futile bid to sign Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Berbatov, who is now expected to sign for Fulham, had been expected to sign for Fiorentina on Thursday a day after arriving in Florence where fans of La Viola packed the airport to await the Bulgarian.

However some last-minute intervention by Juventus appears to have prompted Berbatov to change his mind and remain in England.

Fiorentina had agreed terms with Berbatov and paid for his plane ticket. Club bosses were furious he did not show but also hit out at the “companies” who they believe scuppered the deal.

A statement from Fiorentina issued late Wednesday confirmed that the deal had “fallen through after an agreement had been reached with Manchester United… and after it had agreed contract terms with the player.”

It added: “During the day (Wednesday) the English club granted permission for the player to travel to Florence for a medical and to sign the contract.

“(We thought) the player had embarked, accompanied by his lawyer on a flight – tickets paid for by Fiorentina – to Florence.

“But the player never arrived in Florence… because of the reckless and arrogant attitude of other companies which belie the values of honesty, fair play and ethics of sport.”

Juventus director general Giuseppe Marotta, who claimed that many clubs had been following Berbatov closely, said their actions had been above board.

“We behaved in a correct manner and with maximum transparency,” Marotta said in quotes carried by La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

“We contacted Manchester (United) after learning that the player would not be going to Florence. We didn’t interfere and I don’t believe this situation will have an effect on our relationship (with Fiorentina).”

With fans of Fiorentina left red-faced at the airport after Berbatov failed to show, the Florence club also had harsh words for the Bulgarian.

“As for the player, despite his qualities and his technical merit, at this point we are happy he did not come to Fiorentina. He did not deserve our city and our shirt and the values it represents.”