Tuesday 24 October 2017

Tevez is on the ball with timing

Evan Fanning

SAY you what you like about Carlos Tevez, but the man knows how to cause a scene. There have been some suggestions that the Argentinian's refusal to take the field for Manchester City against Bayern Munich on Tuesday was a premeditated action and, if it was, you would almost have to admire his sense of occasion.

Of course, we have to be aware that the player's agent has issued a statement saying the star never refused to take the field -- and the whole matter is now being investigated. Perhaps they'll start off with the apparent contradiction between the statement and Tevez's reported comment on Tuesday that "I didn't feel right to play, so I didn't."

But whatever the upshot of the probe you've got to admit that Tevez has a sense of timing to rival any classical actor's. If he were that disillusioned with the club he could have just refused to travel to Germany in the first place. Or he could have thrown a strop in the airport, relentlessly buying over-sized Toblerones in duty-free until the rest of the team had no choice but to board without him before they missed their flight.

But no. Tevez waited until the game was in play, until his side were two goals down and desperately needed him. Then, and only then, he apparently looked at them and said: "You know what? I don't think I'll bother."

"It was a misunderstanding," said Tevez in a statement on Wednesday and he was right. The City manager Roberto Mancini may have been mistaken in the belief that Tevez was there to play football when in fact the star might have been content to sit on his arse whispering out of the side of his mouth to his compatriot Pablo Zabaleta. A compete misunderstanding.

It's worth recapping how exactly Tevez is in this mess. At the end of last season, despite being captain of the side, leading goalscorer, hero of the fans and earning upwards of £200,000 a week, he decided he could hack it no longer in Manchester where, he said, he was too far from his family, it always rained and there were only two restaurants that served food he could reasonably be expected to digest.

In modern football you would expect that Tevez and his advisers would have his next move all sewn up, but no. While they waited for someone to pay the £40 million transfer, City forged ahead stripping Tevez of the captaincy and signing his replacement.

Now he has seemingly refused to play in protest of not being in the team and the club have been forced to suspend him while they investigate what went on. With no football to play, at least those two Manchester restaurants are in for a busy couple of weeks.

Evan Fanning

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