MANCHESTER: Carlos Tevez is back. The runaway Argentina striker flew back into England on Tuesday and checked in at Manchester City’s training ground ahead of planning a return-to-fitness regime. If or when he returns to fist-team duty depends on the success of a peace deal with manager Roberto Mancini.
After Luis Suarez and Liverpool apologised for the Uruguayan’s failure to shake hands with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra last weekend, the spotlight of speculation switched to another South American in Tevez.
The 28-year-old has been in Argentina without the club’s permission since November, has been fined up to £11m, and was forced into a truce after the failure to secure a transfer during the January window.
Now both player and club need Tevez to rebuild his value ahead of the summer transfer market. That means that Tevez needs to regain match fitness and start playing. Mancini, while understanding that and needing an extra attacking asset for the title run-in, needs to protect his own professional image.
Achieving this will not have been helped by Tevez’s comments in a TV interview on Monday in Argentina about the original substitution row in Munich and subsequent events.
Tevez has not played since the Champions League defeat by Bayern when Mancini said Tevez was “finished” at City. Later Mancini said Tevez would need to apologise to be considered for selection.
City have not yet responded to the TV interview, which also included a claim from Tevez that Mancini treated him “like a dog” in Munich.
Tevez said Mancini had been angered by the reaction of striker Edin Dzeko to being substituted when the controversial incident involving him occurred.
Tevez said: “I was in a bad mood anyway and when he [Mancini] brought on [Nigel] De Jong and took off [Edin] Dzeko, and we were losing 2:0, I thought it was a defensive substitution so I decided to sit back on the bench.
“I had already warmed up for 10 minutes so I sat down and at the same time Dzeko came off and was really angry at Mancini. Dzeko was speaking Bosnian and Mancini was swearing at him in Italian so it was a real mess.
“Then he turned around and saw. He was in the middle of an argument so then he told me to keep on warming up and treated me like a dog.”
City have not commented on the interview but former goalkeeper Joe Corrigan and former England forward and club chairman Francis Lee are among observers who fear the consequences. Both have suggested that Tevez’s return could damage team morale at a delicate stage of the season.
Mancini’s men lead Manchester United by two points but, out of the FA Cup, are not back in league action until they host Blackburn on Saturday week. By then the story will have changed again.