Tevez mauls United
Published 20/01/2010 | 05:00
CARLOS TEVEZ'S limited grasp of English probably ensured that he did not understand most of Gary Neville's comments and barbed observations during his two-year stint at Manchester United.
The Argentinian understands English in its written form, however, so it would not have taken long to take on board the United captain's pre-match assertion that Alex Ferguson was right not to break the bank -- or the Glazers -- to keep Tevez from Manchester City's clutches last summer.
Judging by Tevez's 'quit-talking' hand gesture towards his former team-mate following his 42nd-minute penalty equaliser, he knew exactly what the United substitute had previously said.
Neville, perhaps the embodiment of a Mancunian noisy neighbour, should have known better than to tweak the tiger's tail by offering his opinion of Tevez in the build-up to such an explosive fixture. Then again, he was warned by the English Football Association for his incendiary celebration of Michael Owen's injury-time winning goal in the 4-3 win against City in September. Neville said: "I can't disagree with his (Ferguson's) decision on Tevez.
"He was a good player for us, but if the financial demands are too big, then that's just the way it goes."
Never has one player split opinion in Manchester like Tevez. Adored by the United fans while wearing red, he is now the subject of a distasteful chant as a result of his defection to the blue half of town.
The legendary 'Welcome to Manchester' billboard which bore his image last summer enraged Ferguson, but the player liked it so much that he paid £2,000 for a scaled-down version to hang on the wall of his family home in Buenos Aires.
Yet despite his hero to villain status among United supporters, Tevez did not goad the 5,400 visiting fans after scoring in front of them.
He celebrated, but there were no cupped ear gestures (that came later). Even after Wayne Rooney had seemingly attempted to psyche him out prior to the penalty by urging Tevez to 'watch the post', the City forward kept his response under wraps until well clear of the away end.
He has a growing repertoire of goal celebrations, but then he is scoring quite a few goals in City blue.
When he scored against City for United last season, Tevez stopped in front of the directors' box before standing with his ears-cupped in front of United chief executive David Gill, an apparent dig at the man he perceived to be blocking his permanent deal at the club. Tevez later denied that this was the reason behind the celebration. And having put City 2-1 ahead with a near-post header early in the second-half, Tevez did it again. It must have been painful for Gill, but Ferguson will not have enjoyed it either, as chants of 'Fergie, sign him up' rang around Eastlands.
We will perhaps never know what prompted Tevez to swap red for blue.
Did Ferguson really believe he wasn't worth the £25.5m required to tie Tevez to a five-year deal at Old Trafford, or did the player have his sights set elsewhere months before United finally made their belated move to keep him?
United is Tevez's past. His future appears brighter at City. (© Daily Telegraph, London)