Manchester United’s Dimitar Berbatov will miss his side’s Champions League semi-final first-leg match with Schalke on Tuesday in Gelsenkirchen.
The 30-year-old striker, who is United’s top scorer this term with 22 goals, missed the team’s 1-0 win at Everton on Saturday, and will sit out the Schalke clash along with Darren Fletcher, Bebe and Owen Hargreaves.
The news comes on top of speculation about the Bulgarian’s future at Old Trafford, with rumours swirling that Berbatov is upset at being overlooked in favour of Javier Hernandez in manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line-up.
Despite his efficiency in front of goal, Berbatov has started in only three of United’s past 13 games, although he does still have another year to run on his contract at Old Trafford.
Despite Berbatov’s absence, Ferguson insists his side are in excellent condition heading into the match.
“We are in good shape,” Ferguson said. “I needed to keep us fresh against Everton, knowing that three days later we would be playing Schalke in the first leg of a Champions League semi-final.”
“I had one eye on the trip to Germany and, of course, big games in the league against Arsenal and Chelsea.”
“I enjoy this critical stage of a season, when we are involved in big games that come at you thick and fast, with little recovery time in between.”
“Team selection comes into its own, and just as the players have to rise to every occasion, so do I as I try to keep the team fresh and raring to go.”
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