Carlos Tevez: The Enigma

When, in July 2009, Carlos Tévez crossed the Manchester divide swapping red for blue he became an icon for all City fans. Leaving Manchester United in controversial circumstances – the fans pleading for him to stay, the board refusing to pay and Sir Alex somewhere in the middle – he joined what was dubbed “The Blue Revolution”. Here was a player in his prime abandoning the glory, prestige and honour of playing for Manchester United in order to join City – a “sleeping giant” engulfed in thirty-five years of mediocrity. Just how Tévez was persuaded to sign for the Blues – whether it was the proposed large pay-packet, the fact that he didn’t have to move his young family to another country or the “Project” that was so enthusiastically spoken about – we will never know but after his best ever goal-scoring haul of 29 in all competitions it proved to be a very important signing.

After last season it is now easy to see why Manchester City were desperate to sign him, a suppressed talent at United, Tévez blossomed at City and quickly became idolised by the fans, winning the coveted Player of the Season award. Everything seemed to be going well for Carlos heightened by being awarded the captaincy by Roberto Mancini at the beginning of this season it was a moved which sparked controversy. For the fans it was not a problem, a committed and talented player with bags of international experience chosen to lead the Blues out. Tévez was loved by the players and the fans – what could go wrong? With constant speculation regarding his personal happiness, the fact that Mancini had apparently “pacified” Tévez by giving him the captain’s armband and the frustration that City had failed to qualify for the Champions League the previous season led to Carlos looking a disgruntled figure at Eastlands.

A disconsolate figure he was indeed when, in December last year, he submitted a written transfer request, an announcement which shocked the club, the players and the fans. This saga, which drew comparisons with Wayne Rooney’s earlier in the season, led to Roberto Mancini’s first major mistake. Tévez promptly withdrew his request following talks with the club and his “advisers”, yet retained the captaincy. With other players more than capable to choose from, such as Vincent Kompany or Nigel de Jong, whose loyalty has been unquestioned, Mancini opted to keep the talismanic Tévez as captain.

Carlos Tévez, though a world class footballer, may believe that he has become untouchable at City, but he is wrong.
There is a myth that emanates from some fans of Manchester City that Carlos Tévez is a committed player. Whilst it is true that his all-action, “bulldog” approach (to quote Martin Tyler) to the game of football does much to heighten this myth, is it at all possible to call him committed when he has played for three different clubs in the space of five years? With the likelihood that he will move on again in a few months time it appears as though ‘commitment’ is a word lacking in Carlos Tévez’ vocabulary. Having lived in England for the last five years one would expect him to have some grasp of the English language yet Tévez’ knowledge is limited to say the very least. Perhaps this is indicative of a man who sees his future away from England?

There is no denying that Carlos Tévez has been sensational for Manchester City during the past two seasons and, at times, has carried them through difficult spells – his record speaks for itself – yet there are doubts being cast in the upper echelons at Eastlands that perhaps it is time to sell the talismanic Argentinian. His commitment to the club has been questioned by the Blues’ hierarchy after he remained in Italy to continue treatment on his injured hamstring and spend time with his girlfriend, rather than travel to Wembley to watch his team-mates face bitter rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final. The Manchester City club captain missed arguably the most important fixture in the club’s history since their last trip to Wembley in the Division 2 play-off final back in 1999. Tévez is seen as a problem, his energy, talent and influence on the pitch is important for a team that aspires to be the very best, yet his off-field personal problems and inability to settle mean that an offer of £50 million or above may test the Blues’ resolve, despite there being three years left on his contract. It is thought that the board are still seething after an in depth interview with Tévez for the club’s official website where he stated how happy he was went online just days before his official transfer request. Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon Al-Mubarak do not like being embarrassed.
After a season of being labelled a one-man team, Manchester City have looked formidable following the debacle at Anfield a month ago when they lost Tévez to a hamstring injury. A deserving victory over Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final and with good results in the Premier League culminating in a six point lead over Tottenham Hotspur in the race for fourth place going into the crunch match on Tuesday May 10th. With a team of committed, yet discreet stars the likes of Kompany, de Jong, Zabaleta and Barry are taking the plaudits now Tévez is out of the limelight. The Blues are not seen as a one-man team anymore and it bodes well for a future without Carlos Tévez. Despite only being 25 years old Vincent Kompany has matured into one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League and is a shoe-in for the club’s Player of the Season award. Nigel de Jong too is a close contender for the award after another incredible season at the heart of City’s engine room. David Silva also deserves a mention; a fantastic debut season in the Premier League has almost been overshadowed by the labelling of Manchester City as a one-man team.
Since taking over as captain through Tévez’ injury Vincent Kompany has been the model professional, a man very well-respected by his team-mates, manager, coaches and fans, he oozes class, intelligence and sophistication. Kompany is the man Mancini should appoint as permanent captain; his performance in the FA Cup semi-final was one which proved how much it meant to him to be associated with Manchester City.  The respect Kompany has earned at City was shown when he asked Roberto Mancini and his coaching staff to leave him to talk to the players in the dressing room minutes before the semi-final kicked off. The look of joy on his face when Yaya Toure slotted the ball past Van Der Sar and his celebration at the final whistle showed just how much success at City means to him. It was an historic victory for Manchester City, one which Tévez significantly missed.
Carlos Tévez, though a world class footballer, may believe that he has become untouchable at City, but he is wrong. The City faithful are beginning to accept that now may be the right time for Tévez to leave the club. As the saying goes, nobody is bigger than the club. Carlos Tévez and Manchester City might just be about to prove that true, after all, City have got Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli ready to take over the reins as top goal-scorer.
There is a big decision for the Blues hierarchy to make come the end of the season, replace Tévez who has scored 51 goals in just 82 appearances for City or replace Mancini who has guided the club to an FA Cup final (possibly winning it) and most likely fourth position in the league.

Carlos Tévez or Roberto Mancini? Place your bets please.
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Matt Hill

Hi there! I'm Matt Hill, a 22-year-old sports journalist and broadcaster. Welcome to The Rising Blue. A blog predominantly about Manchester City FC. Thanks for visiting my site. If you like what you read (or don't like) hit me up for a chat on Twitter or add your comments to the story. You'll find me here: @matty_hill Any questions/recommendations/queries for the site or myself can be sent to matty.a.hill@gmail.com

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