The whirlwind of controversy that is Carlos Tevez is on the verge of winding up his days at Manchester City, with reports that the enigmatic Argentine striker is close to signing for Juventus. The news has Early Doors in two minds.
Since he first arrived on these shores from Corinthians in 2006, the life and times of Carlos Tevez has undoubtedly made, should we say, 'interesting' reading. From the early furore over his ownership and his 'involvement' in the relegation of Sheffield United, to his defection across Manchester, the Bayern bench bust-up with Roberto Mancini and his subsequent extended golfing holiday, Tevez has rarely managed to extricate himself from our consciousness.
In between all that nonsense we've had rows over inflammatory billboards featuring his mug, a brush with the law over a driving offence, some alleged extra-marital action, a spat with Gary Neville, numerous comedic interviews in English and a cameo appearance at The Open golf tournament as a caddy. He's not that far behind the more celebrated Mario Balotelli in terms of tabloid fodder. All that's missing from his rap sheet is a couple of incidents involving fireworks, school toilets or a training bib and he'd be right up there with his former City team-mate.
Of course, there is nothing about the above to admire. Far from it. Some of it may be mildly amusing at best, but most is lamentable. Some is reprehensible even. His defection back to Argentina after refusing to come on as a substitute in Munich reminded us of some of the many unpalatable traits that have come to characterise the modern-day footballer: arrogance, self-entitlement and grossly over-inflated ego among them.
The controversy, much of it of his own making in terms of decision-making and judgement, has dogged Tevez's career in England and that is why ED for one will be pleased to see the back of his number 32 shirt when he finally leaves for Italy.
Yet it won't be all joyous fanfare as he packs his Louis Vuitton bags and heads for Turin; his departure will also be tinged with a hint of melancholy. As a man, Tevez will not be missed too much but, conversely, as player there is much to admire. He may lack many things off the pitch, but on it, when he is doing what he does best, there is very little to fault.
A fourth move in the space of seven years may suggest a lack of a sense of loyalty, but there can be little doubt that once Tevez sets foot on any pitch, he is 100 per cent (no, forget that, 200 per cent) committed to the shirt he is wearing at that given time.
West Ham fans knew that, as did the United and City faithful. That's why he has been loved by supporters at all three clubs; a player who chases down a lost cause in the 89th minute will always win the hearts of fans. The Juve tifosi will find out soon enough, and they too will embrace him as one of their own (until he falls out with manager Antonio Conte/gets 'homesick'/indicates a desire to play for Inter - delete as appropriate).
But it's not just Tevez's commitment that makes him stand out as a footballer. It's his undeniable quality too. ED is pretty committed in the tackle, but that alone doesn't make a good player. His record as a frontman in England speaks for itself: at City he scored 74 goals in 125 appearances in all competitions, at United 34 in 90 and at West Ham seven in 22. In terms of performance, he has been an asset to all of his English clubs.
"He is an extraordinary player, capable, with great technique and talent," Mancini said, despite their obvious differences. “He will certainly do well at Juventus. I can’t wait to see him in action in Italy.”
ED is inclined to agree; Tevez will be a success on the pitch at Juve. That's what he does. What is also guaranteed, though, is that the character baggage he has been hauling around with him for the past seven years will also be on that plane to Turin.
But that's Carlos Tevez, the enigma. Italy, brace yourselves. You have been warned.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Neymar can feign a foul and so we must be watchful that nobody is fooled by his ability. Neymar is very lightweight, he can drop to the ground and fool the referee and rivals." Uruguay captain Diego Lugano stokes the fires ahead of his country's clash with Brazil. He might have a point though:
FOREIGN VIEW: When UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body meet, you know someone's been up to no good. The latest very naughty boys to be fingered by the governors of European football are Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas. The former have effectively been banned from European club competition for two seasons - a third will be deferred for a probationary period of five years - while the latter for one, both over domestic match-fixing claims. Fener will not be able to play in next season's Champions League despite qualifying by finishing second in the Super Lig. Besiktas, who came third last season, miss out on the 2013-14 Europa League. Meanwhile, Romanian side Steaua Bucharest, who were accused of a breach of Champions League participation regulations, have been handed a five-year deferred ban from European competition.
COMING UP: Hosts Brazil renew their famous rivalry with Uruguay in a tasty-looking Confederations Cup semi-final at 8pm tonight - we've got full live comments on that one. Before that though Eurobot will be here as usual to give you the inside track on the day's transfer rumours while we'll present the latest in our rundown of the world's best players in the Ballon d'Eurosport vote - who follows no.19 Neymar? Columnist Jim White will also be filing his latest musings at some stage and let's not forget our continued coverage of Wimbledon, with Andy Murray in second-round action.
- Sports & Recreation
- Carlos Tevez
- Roberto Mancini
- Sheffield United