It would be far too easy to call Tevez an idiot and blame him for being a spoilt brat whose success has gone to his head.
However, if you look at the facts of the last year, a picture emerges of a player who is very, very unhappy at the Corinthians, despite his high-profile move.
- Tevez signed from Boca Juniors for a South American record fee of $18 million in December 2004.
- Some time ago, he was allowed to return to Buenos Aires for personal reasons in a decision which split directors and angered the fans, especially as he missed a derby against arch-rivals Palmeiras.
- On his return, he gestured at the fans to be quiet after scoring a goal against Fortaleza. As he left he stadium after the game, a group of supporters kicked his car and insulted him. According to news reports there was also a case of a militant group of fans demanding his apology and threatening his family, which prompted Tevez to say that he didn’t feel safe and wanted to leave.
- The situation worsened last week when former Brazil goalkeeper Leao, well-known for holding a fierce rivalry against Argentine players, took over as coach.
- Leao is the club’s seventh coach in less than two years.
- The new coach stripped the Argentine of the captaincy on the grounds that nobody could understand him.
- He has not been with the Brazilian champions since playing in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Botafogo.
- After Sunday’s game against Botafogo, Tevez told reporters he could have played his last game for Corinthians.
- He missed training on Monday and Tuesday and was absent from the goalless draw away to Juventude on Wednesday night. Argentine television has already shown pictures of Tevez at a Buenos Aires nightclub on Monday night and on Thursday there were reports he had been seen at a restaurant in the Argentine capital.
- Tevez has a contract with the Corinthians till 2008.
- The club can sue Tevez for a breach of contract and get him banned from playing for Argentina.
Tevez has long been the subject of speculation over a move to a big European club, and the player has been agitating for a move ever since he joined the Corinthians in February 2005 – complaining that fans and referees alike were targeting him because of his nationality.
The current strike is ill-advised and ridiculous, even if you consider that Tevez has legitimate grievances. Tevez will get nothing out of it and will only damage his reputation as a player. I can understand if he wants to leave, but there are better ways to do so. Going on strike, saying that you’ve played your last game for the club (when two years of your contract remain) and running off to your home country smacks of arrogance and frankly, lack of intelligence and respect.
On the other hand, problems with the manager, the fans and language problems can put a lot of pressure on players (Tevez is still 22). He would be right to stand up against the club and to refuse to play, and perhaps the move back to his home country is to protect him from militant fans (and if that is the case Tevez should make it public).
So where will Tevez go now?
The team most linked with Tevez this summer, mostly because of Manchester United’s sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy. Everyone seems to put a lot of faith in that one press conference to which Tevez wore a Man Utd shirt, and after a friendly game between Boca Juniors and Manchester United apparently Ruud van Nistelrooy exchanged shirts with him, but apart from that there has been nothing concrete. Rumours of a bid are rampant, but ultimately as unreliable as the rumoured ‘bid’ for Torres.
Mourinho’s trip to Brazil to watch the Corinthians play was ‘supposed’ to be a scouting trip to pick out future talent for Chelsea, but at the time people figured it was to talk about about Tevez as a potential replacement for Crespo. The rumours for Chelsea moving for Tevez have died down now that Stamford Bridge is overflowing with stars. What if Tevez still comes? Expect Drogba to make way (although who will buy him is entirely another discussion).
Had a bid for Tevez turned down before, and considering that they were interested in Ruud they should be in for Tevez if the player decides to come. I doubt that Bayern Munich will be able to match the other candidates financially though.
Are in talks with AC Milan to offload Ronaldo (although Robinho has been mentioned as well). Tevez should fit the bill for Real Madrid as support for Ruud.
What do you think?