London, Sept.25 : Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has a dark family secret - his dad was convicted for being part of a gang rape incident. Former player Ivan Berbatov spent two years in jail for his part in a football team "roasting" of a Norwegian girl. It meant Dimitar - then 18-months-old - was raised single-handedly by his mum during his infant years. The Manchester United ace, 27, who moved to Old Trafford from Spurs in a 30.75 million pounds summer transfer, has never spoken about his dad's conviction.
According to The Sun, Ivan, now in his 50s, was one of six footballers caged for the sex assault on the 34-year-old woman known only as Rose.
Like his son, he was a striker playing for Bulgarian league side Pirin Blagoevgrad.
In the summer of 1983 the team were staying in the Golden Sands Hotel, in Varna, a favourite among Scandinavian tourists.
During a night out before a match, players befriended the woman in a bar. She told cops they later brutally raped her and picked out seven players in an identity parade.
Six were jailed - despite claiming they paid the girl 160 pounds for sex.
Three Pirin players called Murlev, Mularov and Dimitrov were jailed for three and a half years.
Ivan Berbatov and two others were jailed for two years. His wife Margarita stood by him - but his promising footie career was finished.
Later Dimitar forged a career with Pirin before a string of transfers brought him to the Premier League.
Recently his mum recalled Dimitar's grim upbringing in communist-era Bulgaria.
Margarita said: "When he grew up we had a tough life but he never complained."
Dimitar played a charity football match with his dad last year in Bulgaria and lets him drive his Mercedes around Sofia.
He recently said: "My father was the best. He taught me everything."
Story first published: Thursday, September 25, 2008, 12:40 [IST]
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