A Manchester City player – unfortunately not bearing the surname Toure - will touchdown in Manchester airport today. Carlos Tevez, 28, is expected to return from his home in Argentina following his absence from the club since November last year. Tevez requested to be allowed home during a dispute with the club when it was alleged he refused to join play in the second half of a Champions League tie with against Bayern Munich, with City two nil down at this point. Tevez insists that he did not refuse to play and instead just refused to warm up. The club rejected Tevez’s request but he chose to disobey and flew home anyway, less than twenty-four hours before he was due in training. Manager Roberto Mancini made a bold statement insisting that Tevez was “finished” at City however; in the last couple of days he has hinted that this may no longer be the case. So, should the club let bygones be bygones and welcome back the former hero to the Etihad stadium? Should the fans once again wear the name Tevez on their blue shirts with pride? I for one don’t think so.
Before Tevez can even contemplate returning into the City fans good books an official apology must be forthcoming from the Argentinean. Tevez’s initial ‘apology’ was made during an interview with Fox Sport in Argentina. He said, “If I was wrong, I say sorry. I believe I did not make a mistake.” In this farced request for forgiveness, he does not admit he’s done any wrong let alone apologise. Whether he refused to play or refused to warm up, he still disobeyed his manager and therefore was in the wrong. His disobedience extended too far when he boarded the plane home. He no doubt laughed and stuck two fingers up at Mancini as the plane left the ground knowing it would not be financially beneficial for the club to fire him.
For his insubordination, Tevez is estimated to have lost a massive £9.3million through fines and lost wages that the club have refused to pay since November. This may seem like punishment enough to your every day man on the street, who can only dream of such riches. For me, I find it insulting that a mere man who can dance with a ball has the ability to snub such amount of money; and in only a matter of months.
Now I’m not saying that Tevez isn’t a good player. He’s clearly talented with a great finishing ability, but he’s no Lionel Messi. Tevez is committed to himself and his own ability rather than the teams he plays for. He clearly likes to be the star and centre of attention. In 2010 he submitted a transfer request and said that his relationship with City had suffered irreparable damages – within a week he withdrew his request and expressed his absolute commitment to City. Rumours circulated again of his desire to leave when he said that he “would not even go to Manchester for a vacation.”
Manchester City are by no means the first team to deal with Tevez’s difficult personality. Tevez joined the Premiership with West Ham in 2006 amid rumours that he was refusing to play for his former club Corinthians. While playing for the Hammers, he left the ground early in a tantrum after being substituted in a league match against Sheffield United, for which he was requested to donate half a week’s wages. He went on loan Manchester United in 2007 but in 2009 his relations broke down with Manager Sir Alex Ferguson and the club after Tevez claimed that he was disappointed that he hadn’t been offered a permanent place in the team. United offered Tevez a five year contract that would have made him one of the clubs top earners but instead Tevez decided to controversially sign for United’s arch enemies Manchester City.
In an interview with the Telegraph, during his relationship breakdown with Sir Alex, Tevez said of the United boss:
“I was there (United) for two years and Sir Alex never called me or sent me a text. The only time he spoke to me was after the game with Roma when I needed to discuss my involvement with Argentina. I don’t think that is a great way to treat a player.”
Tevez’s recent spat with Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is of a coincidental similar nature. Once again Tevez said he was mistreated by management claiming that Mancini “treated him like a dog” and spoke to him in a negative tone of voice during the Bayern Munich game. Interestingly, during his current quarrel with Mancini, Tevez has seemed to have forgotten his past words or had a sudden change of heart when he branded Ferguson as one of the two best managers he has played for, along with Marcelo Bielsa.
Undoubtedly Tevez could make a difference in games. City have been missing a spark recently and maybe Tevez - so eager to come back and please - is what the team needs to make that last push towards the title. But, Mancini will allow Tevez to undermine his credibility if he lets the sensitive Argentinean back in. Things have gone too far. Tevez clearly lacks the respect for Mancini that a player should have for a manager. Tevez isn’t vital for City. They have been top of the league – minus a couple of days when United played first – since October. But what other options are there for Carlos Tevez? Inter Milan, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain all pulled out of talks of a possible transfer. City can’t seem get rid of him. How do you solve a problem like Carlos Tevez?