Refusing to come on as a substitute in Manchester City’s Champions League group match with Bayern Munich was a decision which has sparked huge controversy, but for Carlos Tevez the refusal will have been well thought out.
Tevez made it clear from the end of last season that his time at Manchester City, a club he has served wonderfully for two seasons, had to end. Beset by personal problems and a lust to join his family in South America, the striker made it public knowledge that he wanted to leave and gave his club the whole of the summer transfer window to try and make that happen. So for me, Tevez’ controversial decision to reject his manager’s order is one which is unprofessional, but also one which comes as no surprise.
I don’t want anyone to mix that up with how Tevez is as a professional and as a character, as throughout Tevez career in England I have found him to be highly professional in how he plays and conducts himself on the park. He may have made some decisions which have left a sour taste, such as his celebration aimed at the Manchester United hierarchy when contract negotiations broke down in his final season at Old Trafford; and his staunch pledge to leave Manchester City after achieving so much with the club last season.
However, Tevez is adored at his first club West Ham, whom he saved from relegation on the final day of the 2006/07 season. Despite loathed for his move from Utd to City, he contributed 19 goals to the red half of Manchester in two seasons, 5 of which helped them lift the Champions League in 2007/08, as well as lifting the Premier League twice and the League Cup. Then with City, Tevez has contributed massively to their quasi renaissance since coming under new ownership, and provided them with a world class player and controversial story which went some way to raising the profile of the club.
On the park he scored 43 goals in 65 games over two seasons, finishing 5th in his first season and 4th in his second, as well as captaining the side to theFA Cup, their first domestic trophy since 1969. Despite having played only two seasons, Tevez could be seen as City’s most influential player in the last 20 years due to the Cup win and first ever Champions League finish, and as a result of this I feel Man City and Mancini have dealt with the situation terribly.
As mentioned, Tevez made it clear he wanted to leave City from the start of the summer transfer window, which has now ended. Throughout that window, there was a protracted transfer to Corinthians, and despite not knowing the ins and outs of the deal, City played hard ball on a fee which, by the look of how they have spent this year, they don’t really need. I can understand the point that City still have to do their business properly and like any other club in the world If they are to sell their best players then they must command the best fees, but Tevez was quite clearly a man with his mind set on leaving, so can they really be surprised at last nights event?
The Argentine is a flamboyant character and to be honest, I feel an incident like this has done well not to rear its head too many times before. However, I think Mancini has a lot to answer for in how he treats his players. Again it can only be guessed how he interacts with them in a one to one situation, as well as in the team dynamic, but from the outside looking in, he has been found left desperately wanting when big stars, signed by him, have stepped out of line. Mario Balotelli on numerous occasions, Jerome Boateng all last season, Eden Dzeko last night and now Tevez also. I struggle to believe that if another top class manager such as Mourinho, Ferguson or even Wenger had the same players, that they would encounter the same problems.
Without doubt Tevez was City’s star performer last year, despite the defensive heroics of Vincent Kompany. He was their captain, top scorer and all-round talisman, so upon the break down of negotiations with Corinthians, Man City were reassured by Tevez that he would return from the Copa America committed to the next season, and up until this point in the season that is what Tevez has done.
Mancini has obviously took him to breaking point, and having played football to a decent level, I can understand Tevez’ frustration at having to remain somewhere he is obviously not happy in, but in the same token has to remain on the bench, after being such a huge part of the team for the last two seasons.
I agree that if a player is paid money to play as their job, then they should do so when told. However, I don’t think it matters whether they are paid £200 a week or £200,000 a week, the fact still remains that they are being paid for the services.
Tevez saw last night as an opportunity to let Mancini know once and for all that he wouldn’t be cast off as a player that City needed in times of distress, he instead sees himself as the player to help avoid situations like being taught a footballing lesson away to Bayern Munich.
Somehow I feel that if Mancini had buried the hatchet when Tevez iterated his commitment to the team this season, then City would be in an even better situation than the already good one they find themselves in.
Where does Tevez go from here? Well Mancini says the striker will ‘never’ play for him again. I would not be surprised if he makes a Wayne Rooney-esque return to the team after a couple of months.