The Sensitive Relationship Between Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini
If recent reports coming out of England are to be believed, Manchester City coach Roberto Mancini has extended the olive branch to rogue forward Carlos Tevez. After initially stating back in September that Tevez would never again play for him subsequent to Tevez’s refusal to take the field as a second half substitute in City’s champions league game against Bayern Munich in Munich, it now seems Mancini is ready to let bygones be bygones by publicly stating that Tevez can rejoin the first team once he apologizes to his team mates and Mancini.
To the casual observer Mancini’s new stance on the Tevez issue may seem puzzling. After all, Tevez not only disrespected the manager and the club, but more importantly he disrespected the fans and the common consensus in England is that he should never be allowed to don the City shirt ever again. It’s a case of good riddance to bad Argentines. Popular support has most definitely been with Mancini.
On the surface it would therefore appear that Mancini has all the aces, not quite. Carlos Tevez is not just any player he is an extremely gifted player, a fact underscored by the titles he has won in both Europe and South America. Tevez is one of those rare footballers’ who has won every major club trophy on both continents.
In three seasons at Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors between 2001 and 2004 Tevez was instrumental in Boca’s capture of not only the Argentine league title, but also the Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana and the Intercontinental Cup. By the time he left Boca for Brazilian giants Corinthians in 2004 for a South American record fee of $22 million Tevez had appeared for Boca 75 times finding the net on 26 occasions.
Tevez arrived at Corinthians on the back of being named Argentine Footballer of the Year in 2003 and 2004, along with being named South American Player of the Season in years. He did not disappoint the Corinthians faithful and led them to the Brazilian Serie A title in 2005 a feat which saw him being named Brazil Footballer of the Year and once again South American Player of the Season in 2005 making him the only player in history to have won this accolade in three consecutive seasons.
After appearing for Corinthians on 47 occasions, scoring an amazing 31 goals in the process Tevez left South America for Europe and the English Premier League in 2006 when he joined West Ham United. His arrival in England was dogged with controversy due to complexities associated with the ownership of his economic rights, which at the time were owned by his now Agent, Kia Joorabchian a breach of Premier League rules.
On the very last day of the 2006/2007 season Tevez scored his last goal for West Ham United and it proved to be lucky number seven as it resulted in an unlikely 1-0 win at Manchester United and guaranteed West Ham’s Premier League survival at the expense of Sheffield United.
In 2007 Tevez left Uptown Park for Old Trafford but not before weeks of wrangling over the players ownership eventually leading both clubs to seek FIFA’s assistance on coming to a determination as to who owned the player. With no concrete decision arrived at Tevez left London for Manchester on a two year loan deal and in the process scored 34 goals in 97 appearances for the Red Devils while winning two Premier League titles, the Carling Cup and the Champions League.
In 2009 Tevez made an acrimonious exit from Old Trafford and signed for neighbours City where he became an instant hit. His 53 goals for City have included some of the best ever seen in the Premier League and there were others which led City to FA Cup glory and their first major trophy in 35 years.
The quality of Carlos Tevez is undeniable and in the cut throat world of international football there are many top clubs who would like nothing better than to add a player of Tevez’s quality to their roster and many a coach thinking they can control the wayward Argentine. Mancini and the powers that be at City are more than aware of this and the peculiar dilemma that it presents.
City has only three cards to play. First, they can reinstate Tevez to the first team and run the risk of upsetting the chemistry of a team that has been in blistering form so far this season. Second, they can try and offload him in January, but a deal will have to be quick and they would no doubt take a financial hit due to the fact they would not be negotiating from a position of strength. Third, they could continue along the current path of keeping Tevez away from the first team and in effect pay him not to play.
City does hold Tevez’s registration until 2014 and they are not in need of the money his transfer will generate. Should City decide to exercise this option they would for all intents and purposes end Tevez’s playing career and many have been quietly calling for this option to be exercised. It is doubtful however that City’s decision makers will want the club to be remembered as the place where the career of one of the game’s most gifted players was brought to an unceremonious halt.
Mancini is also very aware that Tevez has played no games for the club in the Champions League and as such, would not be cup tied should he end up at one of City’s Champions League adversaries. Mancini’s olive branch could thus be an attempt to bring Tevez back into the fold just long enough to have him take the field for City in a Champions League fixture thus rendering him ineligible to participate in the competition for any other club this season to be quickly followed by his departure from Eastlands come the January transfer window.
Mancini is not the type of manager to forgive and forget what happened that September night in Munich, neither is he the type of manager to be cowed into keeping a player he does not want, just look at what happened to Adebayor. Therefore, his olive branch to Tevez is almost certainly a part of some greater design and Tevez should be wary of those who come bearing gifts.
Editor’s note: After this article was written, we learned that Carlos Tevez failed to report for Manchester City training after taking a unapproved trip to Argentina. It’ll be interesting to see what impact this latest development will have on the relationship between Tevez and City.