Carlos Tevez’s alleged refusal to come on as a substitute in Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat at the Allianz Arena has sparked enormous pontificating throughout the football world.
Pundits, managers and journalists all rush to blurt of the first thing that pops into their heads without knowing all the facts. But could it just have been a clash of personalities between two very fiery characters?
After all Roberto Mancini is no stranger to a good temper tantrum. During his playing days at Sampdoria he threatened to walk off the pitch because he was not awarded a penalty.
His then manager Sven Goran Eriksson talked him into continuing, but he may of wished he hadn’t as Mancini subsequently lunged into tackles, scything down Paul Ince, and continually insulting the referee. This behaviour earned him a red card and a six-week suspension.
The Tevez situation is very different but it points to Mancini’s character and the obvious clash of personalities between two very stubborn people. But was it really as simple as everyone seems to think? It has been reported a few times that Tevez refused to come on for Edin Dzeko.
But from the TV footage it looks as though Tevez was warming up to come on as normal and was then told to sit down. Nigel De Jong then replaced Dzeko and Mancini told Tevez to warm up again. It was at this point that Tevez refused to go running down the edge of the pitch again, as he had just done so.
What actually transpired can only be pure speculation, and is still being investigated by Manchester City, but given that a similar incident happened between the two last season, it is easy to see how two mercurial personalities could end up losing their rags with each other.
Mancini reportedly told Dzeko and Tevez to **** off back to Bosnia and Argentina respectfully.
Of course it’s understandable Mancini would react in this way, if Tevez did indeed refuse to come on (something he still denies) as it is disrespectful to him, his team-mates and more importantly the fans. But so many observers were quick to pass judgement, many of whom are no angels themselves. Some of the more outlandish statements came from the bastions of levity, perspective and fairness; Graeme Souness and Neil Warnock, who suggested Tevez should not only be driven out of Manchester, but the country and football all together.
I’m not defending Tevez’s actions; if he did indeed refuse to play then Man City have the right to throw the book at him, but lets not act like this is unusual or anything other then what we have come to expect from the pampered, egocentric showbiz sport of football.
Paul Scholes, often held up as a shinning example to young players as the model professional, recently admitted he refused to play in a League Cup match against Arsenal the day after being on the bench against Liverpool. His reason for this was he thought he should have got half an hour and not the two or three minutes on the pitch he actually got. The main difference between this situation and Tevez’s is that Scholes’ act of petulance was outside Stockport train station and not in front of TV cameras and a viewing audience of millions.
Even Mancini’s son, Filippo, refused to come on as a substitute in Manchester City’s development squad as recently as August this year. It was a team made up of reserves and youth players in a non-competitive match, but the 20-year-old still committed a very similar offence to Tevez and as the young Italian was an un-paid player and did not have a full contract, the club were unable to discipline him.
Harry Redknapp was also quick to condemn Tevez, presumably forgetting that the ‘lovely lad’ who ‘never causes any trouble’ Luca Modric refused to play against Manchester United this season in order to try and force through a move to Chelsea.
Hypocrisy in football is everywhere, but perhaps it would be nice to get some balance to a discussion once in a while…..