FUMING: why Tevez's sideline strop is way off side

George Byrne

THE GREAT thing about following football is that you never know when another unprecedented event is looming.

It's a foolish football man indeed who thinks he's seen it all (in fact, he'd hardly qualify as a football man at all for adopting such a nonsensical approach) when you just can't predict what strange turns events may take.

After all, who could have possibly predicted that Shamrock Rovers would make the group stages of the Europa League, or that Fernando Torres could miss an open goal against Man Utd? Unexpected and unprecedented as both of those occurrences were, they were at least within some bounds of possibility in the context of the Beautiful Game. But what happened between Carlos Tevez and Roberto Mancini on the bench in Munich on Tuesday night was something I'd never seen before at any level of the game.

At 2-0 down with 35 minutes to go, Tevez refuses to go on as a substitute. Huh? Leaving aside for the moment the fact that the Argentine earns £250,000 per week net and should do what he's bloody well told, there's the small matter of respect for your manager, respect for your teammates and respect for yourself.

As his coach, Roberto Mancini was quite right to be furious and insist that Tevez will never play for Man City again. However, this being the bizarre world of modern football, you'd never know whether Mancini's stance will ultimately be backed. Tevez himself has been acting the brat at City since before the summer, insisting that Manchester is a kip (parts of it certainly are but not, I'd wager, the part where he lives), and more or less demanding a move to Spain in order to be closer to his partner and their two daughters . . . who happen to live in Argentina.

Whether taking the nuclear option of sitting on the bench and then refusing to come on was a cunning plan on Tevez's part (somehow I doubt he even has half of Baldrick's brain power) or a ploy by his army of agents, advisors and spin doctors to engineer a move away in January is neither here nor there, as what he did was something the likes of Graeme Souness had never encountered in a lifetime of being involved in the sport.

Still, in a week when that preening Portugese princeling Cristiano Ronaldo can say, with a straight face, that the reason people don't like him is 'They are jealous because I am handsome, rich and a brilliant footballer', it's probably a bigger surprise that what happened in Munich on Tuesday didn't occur sooner.