In the blue corner, Roberto Mancini, hardened Italian manager, and in the Blue and Black striped corner, wantaway striker Carlos Tevez.
By now you've all seen the story. During Manchester Citys 2-0 defeat against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday night, a feud erupted pitchside between former City captain Carlos Tevez and his manager, Roberto Mancini. The catalyst appeared to be when Roberto Mancini asked Tevez to warm up in order to enter the fray as a substitute, just minutes after Tevez had grumpily watched team-mate Edin Dzeko substituted for the much more defensive Nigel De Jong. Tevez apparently refused to go on the pitch, sparking a mass media reaction and of course absolute outrage from many football fans.
The Italian came down hard on the 27-year-old striker, to the delight of many Manchester City fans who feel the ex-Manchester United man disgraced their club. ''For me, if a player plays for Manchester City in the Champions League and earns a lot of money and does this, then he can never play for me again'' He then compared the situation to how it would have unfolded at the more established elite of European Football. ''At Bayern Munich, do you think this would happen? Would it happen at Milan or United?''.
Upon hearing the comments from Mancini in his own post match interview, Tevez (who required help from a translator, despite having played in England for over 5 years now and being illegible for British citizenship), appeared to crack a little smile, before saying that he had been professional during his stay with Manchester City, but also reminding us that he had been open about wanting a move away from the club. So it appears to be somewhat resolved. Tevez will stay in the reserves until January, when Manchester City will cash in on last seasons top scorer, and Mancini and Tevez will be happy.
But Tevez could simply not leave it alone. A statement from him on Wednesday morning read:
"They understand that when I am on the pitch I have always given my best for the club. In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play.''
So not only is Tevez desperate to leave Manchester City, it would appear he is determined also to leave a path of confusion and destruction along the way. If what Tevez is saying is true, Mancini has lied to the fans and the media, and embarrassed the club yet further. But then why would Tevez have anything to say? Tevez is getting his wish, as Mancini is very much likely to sell now in January, so why the statement? Carlos Tevez has never been noted as a hard player to man-manage until recently. It appears Mancini has drove him to this very frustrated state, and Tevez is wanting his revenge, by trying to expose or humiliate the Italian.
It could work. If this is what Tevez has turned into under Mancini, you can't help but worry about how the Italian will ever cope with Mario Balotelli?
But let's look at it from Tevez's point of view for a moment. Everyone is quick to jump the gun and criticise the striker, yet who has looked at his side? Having been mismanaged by the incomprehendeble Mancini on several occassions, he clearly reached breaking point in Munich on Tuesday. He has clearly had enough of Manchester, he clearly has enough money to last him, and so know he wants to spend his time with his family. I'd go as far as saying that is admirable, especially as he has stated on several occassions that having made his money he is desperate to return home to help the broken community he was raised in. Tevez is the ultimate rags to riches story, having grown up in one of the roughest favelas of Argentina, Tevez rose to fame and fortune and now wants to help, yet is stranded in Manchester.
Except he doesn't really, does he? If he had, then he would have accepted the astronomical wage that Corinthians (probably the only club in South America that can afford his transfer fee) offered him. Admittedly by his standards, the wage was a pittance, but his rejection of this move showed that Tevez is greedy after all. He wants to spend time with his family and help out in Fuerte Apache, but he wants to be paid £250,000 a week to do so. And so he's more likely to spend a few years boosting his considerable fortune in Milan with Internazionale before doing any of the wonderful work he promises to do back home.
So what is Mancini supposed to do? Tevez is contracted at the Etihad Stadium til 2014. Upon signing that declaration, Tevez has agreed to play for Manchester City until 2014, unless the club should decide to sell him on. But by spitting out the dummy that made him famous amongst fans of his former club Manchester United, Tevez will win. Manchester City have plentiful funds, we are all aware of this, but nobody wants to lose money for nothing. Should Tevez be forced to stay in the stands and see out his contract, City will see nothing in the way of transfer fees, yet will have to shell out millions in wages to the mercenary striker. City will have to sell, Tevez will get his move. Had it been to Corinthians, Carlos Tevez would have been an hero. As it is, he is the advocate of player power, the devilchild leader of a generation of players intent on disloyalty and greed. Good riddance to him, Manchester City and the Premier League will be a better place without him.