United fans will have been watching the unfolding soap opera of Carlos Tevez and his travails with Manchester City with grim amusement. Now it would seem that not even being the highest paid footballer in the UK (£230, 000 per week, allegedly) is enough for the poor wee thing. Poor Carlos is homesick, apparently, and his obscene levels of remuneration (when most of us are having to scrimp and scrape) are just not enough.
So, City fans now know what it’s like to be duped by this mercenary troll; surely a real-life manifestation of Alan Sugar’s ‘Carlos Kickaball’.
One shirt that does matter to Tevez; playing for his country
The fact is that this is nothing new. When he was playing for the Brazilian club, Corinthians, events followed a similar pattern: signed for a huge fee, won over the fans (no mean feat for an Argentine playing in Brazil) as Corinthians won the Campeonato, won the Brazilian Player of the Year award (both in 2005) then started agitating behind the scenes as he and his Svengali-ish agent, Kia Joorabchian, had obviously decided it was time for Carlos to come to Europe.
City had better keep close tabs on him because it wouldn’t surprise me if Carlos’ next trick is to simply go missing. This happened when he was at Corinthians in 2006 and drew the following quote from their coach Emerson Leao:
“Tevez has missed other training sessions so this is nothing new….. Does anyone understand what Tevez says when he speaks, because I don’t. He is a citizen who has to answer for his own actions and he has no reason for his absence. Corinthians received no official notice….. .”
This was all pissing into the wind, basically, because Carlos got his wish and a move to West Ham. Of course, he was never going to stay there, but playing in the Premier League put him in the shop window and, of course, one of the ‘big fish’ – United in this case – came along and snapped him up on another of Joorabchian’s dodgy loan deals.
More success ensued for Carlos, though in his time at Old Trafford, he was overshadowed by the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. He was popular, but his position at the club only became a real issue with the fans once they realised that his two-year deal was coming to an end and there was no deal on the table to sign him permanently that both parties could accept. In reality, the fans were probably keen for him to stay because they were worried about where he might end up – with good cause, as things turned out.
Anyway, we got more sulky rhetoric from the Tevez camp in the spring of 2009;
‘Tevez had gone public with his grievances at the weekend in a carefully orchestrated interview with the News of the World in which he accused United of not treating him like “one of the family” and said he had no option but to leave.
“He pretty much feels that there is a very big chance that his time [at United] has come to an end,” said Joorabchian. “He has loved his time there. The glory and the time he has had at Manchester United have been special to him but he also realises they have not offered him a contract or wanted to sign him up and that means he has to move on.” ‘ ( ©’ The Guardian, 12/5/09)
And so to moneybags City and more success, though, as the song United fans now sing about him makes abundantly clear, no more trophies.
The other shirt that matters; playing for Boca Juniors
The story of Tevez’ meteoric rise from one of the poorer areas of Buenos Aires is the stuff of romantic folklore. ‘Home’ clearly is important to him and he has never hidden his love for his first club, Boca Juniors. As he approaches his 27th birthday, he has clearly decided that it’s time for him to return to Argentina, though no doubt he might be persuaded to do a year or so in Madrid or Barcelona if the wage packet is big enough. This is hardly big news; in 2007, he was asked about a return to Boca…
“it’s something that could happen in four or five years. I want to make sure that when I do go back I am still in good shape. I don’t want to leave it until I am fat and unable to move.”
Note the ‘when I do go back’ in that sentence….
The course of a footballer’s career cannot always be predicted, even if they are a top player. A serious injury would have probably derailed the Tevez/Joorabchian Masterplan to fleece one of Brazil’s and two of England’s leading clubs, but Carlos has been lucky in that respect and, at times, let’s be truthful, he has played to a very high standard indeed.
Despite that, any grudging respect I had for the man’s drive to succeed and his natural talents has been more than offset by this latest shenanigan. He will return to Argentina (maybe via Spain) a very rich man, but as a human being he’s pretty much beneath contempt.
Mural in Fuerte Apache, Buenos Aires; homeland for Tevez
I saw a piece on the BBC recently about former Spurs and Argentina player Ricardo Villa returning to Tottenham. As the man who scored that goal in the 1981 FA Cup Final against, against…..(could it have been) Manchester City, Villa is always accorded the warmest of welcomes when he occasionally rolls up at White Hart Lane – and it’s a warmth that he obviously appreciates and reciprocates. It’s hard to see Tevez getting the same welcome at Old Trafford or Eastlands when his playing days are over.
The best comment about the current situation came from someone on the BBC text chat for United’s home game against Arsenal. The club was hosting most of the Chilean miners who survived the cave-in at the San José Copper Mine earlier this year and some wag suggested that they might be persuaded to pop over to Eastlands to advise their South American compadré on tactics for survival when you’re trapped in an apparently hopeless situation.