LONDON – Selfish, shameful, unprofessional, pathetic, inexcusable, disgraceful, inexplicable, intolerable and reprehensible but not unsurprising.
Carlos Tevez’s behavior in Germany reached a new low even by his standards. His refusal, according to manager Roberto Mancini, to come on as a substitute for Manchester City against Bayern Munich has united English football with not a single dissenting or supportive voice — no mean feat.
The Argentine is paid a reported £250,000 a week to play football which billions of people are happy to do for nothing. He has let down himself, his club, his teammates, the supporters and his profession.
Which of course presupposes Tevez gives a hoot about anyone but himself.
In the dressing room after the Bayern game, Mancini said to Tevez: “Go back to Argentina. Don’t ever come back. I never want to see you again.”
Tevez’s reaction was to shrug his shoulders, smile and have a shower.
He typifies every negative stereotype about the overpaid spoiled footballer, though thankfully for every Tevez there are many more exemplary professionals like Frank Lampard, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher.
Incredibly, Tevez claimed he did not refuse to play. He said: “There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood.”
How on earth can there be any confusion about a substitution?
Even though he has not bothered to learn to speak English after five years in the country, it is unthinkable any player would be confused by the words “warm up.”
The international language of football is obvious to everyone.
The City manager was adamant Tevez was a rebel without a cause. Yet the striker maintained: “In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play.”
Surely the time to go into details is now?
Why keep details to yourself when the world is against you?
Senor Sulk was unhappy about being a substitute and then not being the first off the bench when Mancini attempted to pull back a 2-0 deficit.
When Tevez was asked to warm up, he allegedly refused, effectively going on strike. He would have had half an hour to make an impression, enough for any egotistical striker to do what he believes he does well enough to warrant a place in the starting XI.
Tevez has been a serial moaner since joining City two years ago. He has regularly stated he wants to leave, citing homesickness — as he has a history of switching clubs every two years, one wonders which home he will be sick for next.
City has somehow forgiven Tevez for his outbursts, but he has now reached the point of no return. The question is: What does City do with a player who cost it £48 million and earns £250,000 a week?
No club wants a rotten apple, and the way Tevez has conducted himself can hardly impress any would-be buyer. Since he arrived in English football with West Ham five years ago Tevez has rarely been out of the headlines for the wrong reasons; Carlos Tevez = Controversy and Trouble.
He may as well wear a sign around his neck saying: Whingeing striker for sale. Will score goals but virtually guaranteed to harm team spirit, will want to jump ship after two years and kick up a stink if not selected or substituted. May not always want to play. Oh, despite all this I want £250,000 a week.
What happened is clearly part of an agenda to force City to sell Tevez yet it not find a buyer during the summer, and a sugar daddy is unlikely to come out of the woodwork in January when the transfer window opens unless the club cut its losses on him.
He could be loaned to a club which will risk dressing room harmony being disrupted by the Tevez sideshow, but the popular decision would be to let him rot on the training ground for the remaining 2½ years of his extremely lucrative contract.
Yes, the contract he was happy to sign after two years with United in Manchester, the city he said recently “had nothing” and he didn’t like because there were “only two restaurants.”
True, it would be financial suicide for the club to allow an asset to deteriorate like this, though if anyone could afford to make such a stance against player anarchy it is City.
Tevez has been suspended for two weeks, the maximum allowed by the Professional Footballers’ Association, pending a full-scale inquiry. When he returns he will train with the reserves and not be allowed in the first-team dressing room.
The reserves may well ask what they have done to deserve having to train with someone who has let the club down so badly.
Tevez’s Munich “misunderstanding” has already seen him fined two weeks’ wages — £500,000 — and the overall cost of refusing to play could amount to £25 million — yes, you read that correctly if City takes Tevez to court for breach of contract.
Sacking Tevez for gross misconduct or breach of contract and then pursuing him through the courts for compensation is one course that has been discussed.
Jim Boyce, a FIFA vice-president, confirmed that City would have his support over what he called a “despicable” act if it decided to tear up Tevez’s contract.
Boyce said: “If Manchester City prove it, write to FIFA and state the exact circumstances, I believe FIFA should have the power to ban the player from taking an active part in football. I would have no problem with that whatsoever.”
Christopher Davies was a longtime Premier League correspondent for the London Daily Telegraph.