Anyone who might follow me on Twitter or on Facebook will know that I have very limited patience for modern footballers. I cannot understand how someone being paid in a week what most people can only dream of earning in a year or a lifetime can match their salaries with such immaturity, or, in some cases, such stupidity. Many people have had their fair say on the Carlos Tevez ‘incident’ (that’s what we’ll call it for now, but there are no guarantees that by the end of this article, it will stay as objective), and most have said the same thing; that his behaviour was unacceptable. I have to agree. And let this be clear, I’m not writing this because I want to jump on the anti-Tevez bandwagon that somehow seems to be trending. I kind of put him in the same category as Joey Barton – good footballer, not so good human being. But this has really tipped Tevez into an entirely different boat. I like Roberto Mancini. He has done a decent job (you’d expect anyone to with that kind of treasure chest, but that’s beside the point) at City and finally seems to have a team that is working well together as a unit and scoring. They’ve had a fantastic start to the season and the last thing they need right now is any form of disruption.
Last night’s game at the Allianz Arena proved that while they are progressing, Manchester City’s European adventure will have to be a measured one. Their domestic success has not been matched by results in Europe, and I didn’t expect them to immediately. They’ll pull through the group stages no doubt, they have too much quality not to. But I don’t think they’ll win it this year. With teams like United, Munich, Milan, Madrid, and Inter having much more experience over the last five, ten years in the Champions League, they will know how to deal with the heavier schedule and with the different styles of football. Traveling to the far reaches of Ukraine and having to play in the middle of November is not what I call a pleasant experience. That said, the consequences and reactions of City’s defeat to Munich will spill well over into the weekend. People will most likely be talking about two things (three if you’re a geek like me): Carlos Tevez’s refusal to come off the bench and Edin Dzeko’s response to being asked to sit on the bench. (The third one, for those of you that are curious, would be Yaya Toure’s surprise switch to Puma v1.11 boots.)
Dzeko’s response is perhaps more understandable than Tevez’s. No player likes being taken off, especially when you know you’ve had a bad game. Mancini will not appreciate it, and he said after the game that he would bench Dzeko on the weekend. Whether this happens or not, I’m not sure that it will affect their relationship, or the flow in the team. 2-0 down, away on a European night, and tension and emotion are running high. It was probably a spur of the moment thing and the two of them will surely make good. However, I doubt that Tevez and Mancini’s now seemingly broken relationship is repairable. Having watched his responses to questions after the game, Mancini looked like a man controlling the evident fury bottled up inside.
This is the part that I get particularly furious about. Having been in Tevez’s position on the bench replaced by teammates in fantastic form, I know how frustrating it can be. But when the manager called on me to get warm because I was going on in five, I jumped straight to my feet every time. Every time. Why? Because I wanted to play and because it is a team sport and as so many people have quite rightly put it, no player is bigger than the team. 2-0 down with half an hour to go, I would have jumped at the opportunity to help my teammates out, especially given the talent that Tevez has up front. One goal and all of a sudden City are back in the game and Munich have to think very carefully about what to do next. For someone making that much money, and for City fans who traveled to Munich and who constantly pay to watch their team play (and effectively Tevez’s salary), I cannot understand his refusal to play. And I don’t buy his retort that it was all a misunderstanding. It doesn’t matter what language you speak, “Get warm, you’re going on in 5″ is about as clear as it gets. What part of that statement that Tevez did not comprehend is beyond me.
Every transfer window, Tevez or his agent, Kia Joorabchian, open their mouths and talk about how much the player wants to leave the club, or how much he wants to leave Manchester. Fair enough, I don’t think at this point anyone is stopping him. If he hates Manchester so much, I don’t think Roberto Mancini would mind seeing him leave. With Aguero, Dzeko, and dare I say it Balotelli up front, I don’t think City fans would mind either. Sure he was good for them last season and the season before, but he’s not good for the team. Every time he opens his mouth he is just begging to leave the club. I have to agree with Souness that City’s owners have to get rid of him. That kind of negative attitude will only hurt the club. I’ve held my tongue on Tevez’s complaints all through this summer and I can’t anymore. Souness is right. He epitomises everything that people hate about modern footballers and he does his team no good. As much as I love to hate on City (partly because they have money that Everton fans like me can only dream about), they have a well functioning machine at the moment that is scoring goals – except in Europe – for fun. They don’t need Tevez. Enough is enough.