Carlos Tevez is wanted again by Argentina and Europe’s top clubs after four lean years in which he nearly gave up the game.
The 31-year-old, known as “Apache” after the Buenos Aires slum district where he was brought up, is back in the national side after a 20-goal season for Juventus who pushed Barcelona to the limit in the Champions League final.
Tevez goes into the Copa America having reportedly demanded a transfer from the Italian side. Talks have been held with Atletico Madrid while British media say Liverpool are also interested.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, resigned to losing the Argentine, said that Tevez has had an “extraordinary season.”
“He has the game in his blood,” according to Atletico coach Diego Simeone. Tevez has also had a bruising career, suffering and handing out the blows.
Tevez’s brilliance was never doubted as he moved from his beloved Boca Juniors in Buenos Aires to Corinthians in Brazil and then in 2006 to West Ham, Manchester United and in 2009 on to Manchester City for more than 40 million pounds ($60 million).
The trouble started in 2011 when he allegedly refused to come on as a substitute for City in a Champions League game against Bayern Munich.
After five months on the sidelines and a very heavy fine, Tevez returned to the first team, but was back in trouble after telling Argentinian television that coach Roberto Mancini had treated him like a dog.
Tevez was also excluded from national duty for three years — including the 2014 World Cup — after Alejandro Sabella took over as Argentina´s coach in 2011. Sergio Aguero was chosen to partner Lionel Messi.
That was when Tevez considered quitting football, he said later.
“I always said I’d retire at 28 and I was close to retiring after the fight with Roberto,” Tevez said at the time.
“I was tired as well. I spent six years in England and nobody would have given a cent for me to stay six years in England.”
One popular singer wrote a tango calling for Tevez to be called back, but Sabella never relented.
Gerardo Martino took over last year though and had no qualms about bringing Tevez back after the World Cup, saying he was ¨worthy¨ as he had been one of the best three players in the Italian league for the past two seasons.
The aggression is still there to see in Tevez´s play with Juventus. But his teammates there say there has never been the slightest sign of trouble.
“Carlos’s career is there for everyone to see. It is formidable,” said Argentina national teammate Javier Mascherano, who moved with him to England to join West Ham in 2006 and was in the Barcelona side that beat Juventus on Saturday.
“He is one of the best players I have ever shared a pitch with and has an incredible winning mentality.
“He has left a mark at all the teams he has played with. Obviously, if you are faced with playing him you have to be very careful.”
Those words from Mascherano will be food for thought for Paraguay as they prepare to face Argentina in their opening Group B game at the Copa America on Saturday. – Agence France-Presse