Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini watched hat-trick hero Carlos Tevez destroy Blackburn 4-1 at Eastlands - then admitted he tried to buy him two years ago.
Tevez's hat-trick, his first since scoring four against Rovers for Manchester United in a Carling Cup tie 13 months ago, took his tally for the season to 15 - one more than Wayne Rooney has managed.
"When I was in Italy and watched him on TV I thought Carlos was a good player," said Mancini.
"I wanted him to come to Inter. I asked about him. But of course, there was no chance because he was at United.
"To score three goals, three very good goals, for us is very special but everyone knows how good he is."
Tevez's tally is more remarkable because he missed most of pre-season after sustaining a foot injury, and flies in the face of Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that the former West Ham star's goals return is not that impressive.
He is certainly relishing his place in a big-man, little-man strikeforce that has seen Benjani Mwaruwari installed as the main man after almost a year of being ignored by former boss Mark Hughes.
Despite speculation that City are trying to rush Emmanuel Adebayor back from Togo, Benjani's contribution of three assists as the Blues claimed a place in the top four suggests the Zimbabwean will keep his place at Everton on Saturday.
Indeed, Mancini confirmed that when Adebayor does eventually land back in England after three days of official mourning in his homeland for the victims of the horrific gun attack at the African Nations Cup in Angola, he will have a long chat before deciding whether the former Arsenal forward is ready to play.
"I am very sorry for him," said Mancini. "I will just wait for him. When he comes back I will speak with him and let him decide when he wants to play. That will be okay with me."
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