The story of Carlos Tevez refusing to play in a Champions League game for Manchester City last night was always going to be all over the news.
Sensationalized headlines. Differing stories reporting what actually happened. A variety of quotes from ‘friends’ and insiders. An opinion from Harry Redknapp.
It’s all a sign of the soap-opera nature of modern football.
Man City no doubt have some sorting out to do regarding the future of Carlos Tevez. But without condoning the actions of the player, is refusing to play the worst thing a footballer can do, as suggested in some quarters of the media this morning?
Tevez is paid handsomely as an employee of Man City. Somewhere between £150,000-a-week and £220,000-a-week depending on which sports reporter you trust most. (Or £250,000-a-week if the BBC is to be believed). As an employee, he should be expected to do his job properly. That he has basically refused to do his job at all is clearly a disgrace.
But let’s keep his sins in perspective.
There are far worse things to have been done by footballers, and there’ll be many more shocking acts committed in the future. Tevez hasn’t deliberately injured an opponent. He hasn’t assaulted a teammate in training. He hasn’t assaulted or spat at a fan in the stands.
Instead, he is guilty of signing a contract he didn’t intend to fully honour. A crime which the majority of footballers are guilty of, if they’re being honest.
Tevez made his intentions to leave in the summer quite clear. His dissatisfaction at not getting his wish has been equally clear, and has a potential to unsettle the team.
However, given the circumstances surrounding the signings involving many of Man City’s other players, it’s difficult to have too much sympathy for the club. None may have refused to play for their previous clubs, but a number certainly created an unpleasant situation which put pressure on their clubs to sell.
The problem for Tevez is that most players aren’t valued by their clubs at £40million, and no interested clubs had that sort of money to spend in the summer. He also ran out of time in his efforts to leave the club before the transfer window closed, and has subsequently found himself out of favour.
On the plus side, it’s likely that after his performance in Munich last night, he’ll be available for much less by the time the transfer window re-opens.
In the meantime we can look forward to three months of developments on the story. Involving plenty of input from Harry Redknapp, no doubt.