And so the class of 2012 loses another pupil. The one who wouldn’t conform, was passionate about his beliefs, but a bit of a slow learner. The rebel and the truant. He stood up to the big boys across the road, but he was always just passing through. By the time he left, those boys didn’t seem that big anymore anyway.
Carlos Tevez has moved on, signing for Juventus, the old lady, on a 3-year deal, whilst Wayne Rooney looks on in envy. Tevez’s stay at City has seemed to run parallel with his old manager Roberto Mancini. Both seemed poised to leave as soon as they arrived (if you believed the press of course), both were successful but flawed, their baggage enough to incur a £10,000 surcharge with Ryanair.
Have no doubt though – Carlos Tevez was as important as any other player in the rise of Manchester City. Some City fans have proclaimed that Tevez is the best player they have seen in a City shirt. Not for me, and in ten years he certainly won’t be, but for a short while he dragged the club kicking and screaming to the top level. In terms of influence on the club, maybe he was the best. He was a statement of intent signing for City, turning down United in the process, he riled them whenever he played against them thereafter, he battled and battled, he always wanted to win, and on the pitch he shirked no challenges.
He was adaptable, and worked the front line. He was too wild for me with his final shot much of the time, but he was always involved in play so it wasn’t always going to come off. He could score out of nothing because he never gave up. Looking at his top twenty goals on City’s official site and you realise that he won’t be easy to replace. But it’s easy to be swayed by a compilation video, especially if it’s on youtube and the music’s right.
There was always something with Tevez though. A desire to feel wanted. His desire to be closer to his family. The desire to play one day for his boyhood club. The lure of Argentinean golf courses. The boredom at Manchester ‘s two restaurants. The inability to grasp the English language. The footballer’s vanity that made him incapable of adhering to the Highway Code. The inability to comprehend the ramifications of a driving ban. The villain of an adviser. The ludicrous wages. The fall-out. The strike and exile. The teeth.
The events in Munich and beyond removed the possibility of Tevez ever becoming a club legend. His claim that he had simply refused to warm-up again, thus causing a misunderstanding with Mancini has some merit, but is undermined by the different account he gave immediately after the match. His subsequent strike and temporary emigration was indefensible.
His return to English shores was a driving force in City wrenching back the title from United in the 11/12 season, though the point must be made that if he hadn’t buggered off in the first place then City might have already wrapped up the title. The fact is, in City’s greatest season in a generation and more, Tevez wasn’t actually there for most of it.
But his work rate will be hard to replace. City fans were slated for welcoming back the exiled Tevez, but apart from the fact that most fans are hypocrites with short memories who would sell their soul for success, the fact is that Tevez always gave 100% on the pitch, something fans always appreciate. On top of that, City needed him, he had been punished for his mistakes, financially and otherwise, and it seemed he had patched up his differences with the manager. And if Roberto Mancini, a man who can make enemies over a misplaced pass could forgive him, then surely the fans could too. Talk of cancelling his contract and sacking him and thus making a moral stand was drivel – football clubs are businesses, and don’t give away their greatest assets.
What’s more, a little part of me always suspected the blame for the Munich madness was not totally one-sided. Mancini and Tevez are both fiery, passionate characters, and Mancini manages through conflict. The manager was a willing conduit for the war that followed.
I wanted Tevez to stay, but I’m not devastated he is leaving. The club is at a level now that a player leaving does not throw them off course, and he will be replaced. Because Tevez the man has little to admire, there won’t be many tears amongst the disappointment. Financially, City’s decision to sell a player, thus saving £27m compared to him leaving for nothing next summer, makes perfect sense. Financial Fair Play is here and City will adhere to it, pathetic as it is. His contribution last season was not sufficient to take such a hit. Tevez hit a purple patch in the second half of the season, but also went over two months without a league goal. He had more assists than anyone however, but it was a low-key season for all of City’s attacking players. Manuel Pellegrini will bring with him new systems, and it is hoped that contributions can be more evenly spread out across the pitch. So goodbye Carlos, thanks and good luck. A player to admire, not love, but who did his bit in getting the club to the top table of European football. He departs England leaving a trail of controversy, but also a wave of appreciation from every club for whom he played. It’s a loss to Manchester City and to the Premier League as a whole, but Carlos Tevez was never one for setting down roots. He brought relative success to every team he represented, and now it’s Juventus’ turn to reap the benefits – though probably not for too long.
Comments are closed on this article.