The former Manchester man spearheading Juve’s Champions League Dreams
The Juventus striker’s personality divides opinion, but his talent is unquestionable.
Two incidents in the same evening summed up Carlos Tevez’ career. The first was a superb performance in the Champions League semi final, his clubs biggest European game for a decade. The second, being caught allegedly travelling 50kph over the speed limit by French police just a couple of hours later.
These sorts of problems have dogged Tevez throughout his career. He has never been far from causing media controversy and always seems to attract unwanted attention even when the situation is not of his doing, the West Ham/Sheffield United relegation third party ownership debacle being a prime example. Throughout his career he has made eyes at a return to Boca Juniors, the club where he made his professional debut, aged just 16.
After leaving West Ham, he joined Manchester United, winning the Premier and Champions League’s during his time there. However he would cause more controversy by moving to rivals Manchester City when his contract with United expired.
It was during his time with City that Tevez caused one of his biggest controversies. His failure to warm up in a match against Bayern Munich is possibly still his most famous Champions League moment to date. According to then City boss Roberto Mancini, he asked Tevez to warm up, which he promptly refused to do.
The Argentinian claimed Mancini’s words were lost in translation and that if he had understood the instruction he would have warmed up without fuss. Other players on the bench that night refused to be involved, so as it is Mancini’s word against Tevez’, we may never know exactly what happened.
He was placed on gardening leave by the club and returned to Argentina whilst the club decided on the best course of action. When no transfer agreement could be made with any other teams, Tevez returned to Manchester and attempted to make up for his misdemeanours, playing his role in City winning the Premier League.
Despite all his off field baggage there have always been suitors for his services. If Juve decide to let him go this summer, or when his contract expires next season, it wont be just his beloved Boca in line for his signature.
Fans have always been drawn to the reckless abandon and break neck speed at which he approaches his football. There aren’t many top strikers in Europe, apart from fellow South American and Champions League rival Luis Suarez, who can match his work rate and tenacity. Whilst the team commitment shown by Juve’s semi final opponents Real Madrid was called into question, Tevez kept scurrying around the pitch, harassing every opponent, chasing down every lost cause. That is why he has always been considered a risk worth taking.
Should Juventus manage to topple Barcelona on the 6th June, it will no doubt be considered one of the biggest upsets of the Champions League era. Tevez has spearheaded the Old Lady’s quest for European glory and has scored seven goals in this seasons competition. He is also the Serie A top scorer having netted 20 times.
Anyone who grew up watching Italian football in the mid 90’s will remember the superstar-laden Juventus side that made it to three consecutive Champions League finals. A side that included players such as Zinedine Zidane, Christian Vieri, Alessandro Del Piero, Gianluca Vialli and Antonio Conte. They won the first final in 1996, beating holders Ajax on penalties, but would lose the next two as Borussia Dortmund and then Real Madrid stopped the Bianconeri cementing their place as one of the undisputed greats of the Champions League era.
Since then, allegations of doping and match fixing have dogged the club. The team physician, Riccardo Agricola, who looked after the team in the mid 90’s during those Champions League finals, was jailed in 2004 for supplying the banned substance EPO between 1994 and 1998. Juve were also demoted to Serie B and stripped of two Scudetto’s for their part in the ‘‘Calciopoli’’ match fixing scandal that reared its ugly head once again.
Things have improved however, and the club has won four Scudetto’s in a row, a sequence of trophy wins that shows no sign of stopping any time soon. They also beat Lazio 2-1 in extra time to secure the Coppa Italia for the first time since 1995 and the 10th in the clubs history. The cup win has set up the chance for an unprecedented treble, should they manage to topple Barcelona.
Just a month ago rumours began to once again ring around world football that the enigmatic Argentinian was unsettled in Italy, and looking for a switch to his homeland, with Boca Director Enzo Pagani urging Tevez to cancel his contract to force an early return. However instead of embellishing these rumours, Tevez and his agent have remained fairly quiet and dismissed the rumours, claiming the enigmatic Argentine would honour his remaining contract in Turin for the next year.
Despite these rumours surfacing, there has been less speculation surrounding his future of late. Perhaps he has matured or has found his European home, or maybe it is simply down to the reduced media coverage we receive of Italian football here in England. Either way Tevez is continuing to show his worth on the pitch, and will be remembered fondly by Juventus fans for his blockbuster performances long after he has left Turin.
The 6th of June could define his legacy. The Argentinian has the chance to emulate those 90’s superstars and fire Juve to Champions League glory and secure his place in the already lofty historical echelons of this famous club.