Carlos Tevez typifies the modern day professional Premiership footballer, both the good and the bad. The Argentine striker has had quite an effect on English football since his arrival in 2006, firstly scoring at Old Trafford for West Ham on the last day of the season to salvage The Hammers Premier League status, then being adored by the United fans for his work ethic and goals that led to Champions League and domestic titles for The Reds, and now as the figurehead of the Manchester City revolution. Tevez is a mercurial talent; a ruthless hitman with all the ability and skill to carve open any defence in world football. However, Tevez’s temperament and loyalty can, and in this article will, be questioned, as he also epitomises the financially motivated footballer, who due to player power can hold clubs to ransom and whose loyalty seemingly can be bought.
So what do fans want and expect from their captain and/or striker? As British and English clubs they expect the traditional values of hard work, determination, loyalty and dedication, and they want to idolise someone who cares about the team’s cause as much as they do. Added to this, fans can unfortunately be inconsiderate and want a role model who delivers, game in, game out, week in, week out.
Carlos Tevez fulfils most of these attributes, and has showcased his skills for all to see. It takes a specific type of creative player that yes, can cut open defences, but is also willing to track back, chase down fullbacks and do what is necessary to aid the team in the greater good of winning the game. No-one can dispute Carlos Tevez’s effort and physical commitment on the pitch; he typifies the hard working centre forward that will chase lost causes and work harder than most players on the pitch. His skill, ability and goal scoring prowess cannot be questioned either, as the frontman has the deftness of touch, turn of speed and clinical finishing ability to give Premiership defenders nightmares. It is for these reasons that West Ham chanted ‘There is only one Carlos Tevez’ on the striker’s return to Upton Park; these reasons that the Old Trafford faithful implored Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him up on a long term deal and why they worshipped him. It is these reasons that Manchester City fans feel a wave of optimism every time their team steps foot on the park, as although they have a multi-million pound team wearing their colours, their pride and joy is their talisman who heads the home team attack.
However, Tevez’s Manchester City career has been dogged by controversy. Firstly the fact that the player moved from one team to its bitter rivals must raise questions; sure, many players have done this in the past, but to leave champions Manchester United to go to up and coming, but when he signed, mid table Manchester City, shows that the move must be predominantly financially motivated. Alex Ferguson was willing to pay £25.5 million to capture his permanent signature and offered the player a five year deal, which was spurned to join City in a reported £150,000 per week deal.
Tevez’s actions against his former club United were questionable at best in the January 2010 Carling Cup semi final, as he argued with Gary Neville and infuriated this former worshippers after scoring against his ex-employers and celebrating in an over the top manner. For a player to switch clubs to their rivals for career reasons can be frustrating for fans, but for purely financial reasons and to act so inappropriately and without respect against the club that used to pay his wages reeks of unprofessionalism.
Following this Tevez has fired City into title contention, but not without a wobble and doubts over his commitment and loyalty along the way. The Argentine stated a breakdown in “relationships with certain executives and individuals at the club” as the reason for his written transfer request in December 2010, before a week later rescinding his wishes to leave the club and expressing his ‘absolute commitment’ to City after personal matters were cleared; Manchester City fans at that time didn’t know whether to love or hate their captain. These decisions again do not replicate the ideal of a dedicated club man or fans idol.
What now for Carlos? Tevez’s City career will largely depend on where the team finishes, and this will dictate whether it is Doctor Jekyll or Mr Hyde we see come the summer. If City finish in the top four the Argentine will dedicate himself to City and be an attacking threat to defences across Europe next season, with the club’s supporters bowing at his gifted feet. However if City continue to lag and drop out of Champions League contention don’t be surprised if a certain South American striker feels homesick or expresses his desire to leave, and both sets of Manchester fans are united in labeling him a Judas.
In conclusion, Carlos Tevez’s ability and the things he does on the pitch make him a entertaining and gifted addition to English football, and should Manchester City make the top four he will have a major part to play. However Tevez typifies the new age of professional footballers who unfortunately have limited allegiances to any one side, and has the potential to be a fair weather fans favorite, leaving his team in the lurch should more money or a better offer present itself.