Carlos Tevez has, once again, managed to make himself the centre of attention due to his behaviour off the field, rather than his exploits on it.
The striker apparently refused to come off the bench for City last night, in an act that made Roberto Mancini so angry he insisted to reporters after the match that Tevez would never play for the club again, if he has his way with the board.
But Tevez wasn’t the only player to show a very unsportsmanlike side last night. Edin Dzeko came off in the 55th minute for Nigel De Jong, and while the Tevez debacle was hitting boiling point, Dzeko had a hissy fit of his own, to the point that it was plain to see Tevez laughing from the bench at the incident.
There is clearly a problem at City that would fill any purist sports fan with glee; the club can buy the best individual players in the world, but they can’t buy a champion team.
City were played off the park by Bayern Munich last night; in the face of despair, one of their best refused to come on and another showed complete disdain towards the manager. Respect for Mancini is clearly missing, and needs to be found quickly before City find themselves in an ever-increasing hole.
Tevez has said for some time now that he wants to leave City, and while he has continually cited family reasons as a justification for his need to leave the cash-rich club, in one interview with a South American TV station he said he hated Manchester because it was ‘too rainy’.
Fans still stuck with the Argentine, and despite speculation surrounding a move to either Brazil or Italy (his family live in neither of these places), Tevez looked set to start the season with City and settle back into the club.
Fast forward six weeks, and Tevez is showing qualities that paint him as selfish, immature and not deserving of a City shirt. The 27-year-old is the highest earner in the City camp, and that’s saying something. And yet, the only excuse he could conjure for not playing last night was that he ‘misunderstood’ the instructions to warm up.
Tevez is merely an example of the perils that come with a club getting rich new owners and buying in players to win trophies. Before the match, Dzeko insisted that the players weren’t on board for the money, but for the success now associated with City.
"It is not about money," he said. "It is playing against clubs like Bayern Munich, one of the best in the world. That is why we all came to Manchester City."
Compare that reasoning to why Manchester United players who make the move to Old Trafford, and Barcelona players who stick with their club through thick and thin. While the success associated with these clubs are no doubt a part of a player's reasons for following Sir Alex Ferguson or Pep Guardiola, they always cite things like history, the quality of the management, the core group of champions who don’t only play well as individuals, but as part of a team.
City still clearly have a long way to go before they reach the heights that United or Barcelona have reached. And right now, United fans are probably feeling pretty smug about the fact that they let go of Tevez in 2009.
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