MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Septembewr 28 – Manchester City star Carlos Tevez denied refusing to play for the club Wednesday as English football united in condemnation of his behaviour in the Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.
City manager Roberto Mancini declared Tevez was “finished” at the club after accusing the Argentinian of refusing to come off the bench during Tuesday’s game in Munich with the Premier League team trailing 2-0.
But Tevez denied Mancini’s comments in a statement on Wednesday.
“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,” Tevez said.
The 27-year-old striker blamed his failure to appear on “confusion” on the City bench and apologised to the club’s fans for “any misunderstanding.”
“I would like to apologise to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich,” Tevez said.
“They understand that when I am on the pitch I have always given my best for the club … there was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood.”
Mancini has indicated Tevez — reportedly one of the highest earners in English football with weekly wages of more than £200,000 — will never play for the club again in the aftermath of Tuesday’s defeat.
“If I have my way he will be out. He’s finished with me,” Mancini said.
“He refused to come on the pitch. What I said to Carlos is between me, him and the team but I am really disappointed because it is Carlos.
“Can you imagine a Bayern Munich, Milan or Man United player doing this?” he said. “He refused to warm up and again refused to go on the pitch.
Mancini later added he would be speaking with Manchester City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak in the next few days to decide what to do with Tevez.
“In the next days, we will speak with Khaldoon,” said Mancini. “It is normal. He is the chairman. He decides everything.”
Ex-players and media commentators backed Mancini on Wednesday, with former Liverpool star Graeme Souness describing Tevez as a “disgrace to football.”
“He (Tevez) is one bad apple,” Souness told Sky Sports. “He’s a disgrace to football. He epitomises what most people think is wrong with modern football.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp also blasted Tevez – but warned that the player was in a strong position.
“At the end of the day he holds all the aces.
“He gets his wages every week and if you want to give him away someone will give him a fortune because he is cheap.”
Regarding the Munich standoff Redknapp added: “It wasn’t right for Man City, wasn’t right for football. I can’t believe it.”
But former Scotland striker Andy Gray said Mancini’s position may be strengthened by Tevez’s conduct.
“You can’t do what he did – it was so disrespectful, so unprofessional. I’ve never known anything like that,” Gray told Talksport radio.
“But what happened last night could be a blessing for Mancini because now he can get rid. He can say, ‘you’re not playing, you’re not in the team and if you can get a move in January Carlos, on you go’.”
Former City manager Mark Hughes, who signed Tevez before being replaced by Mancini in 2009, said the player’s personal situation was behind his apparent unhappiness in Manchester.
Tevez has repeatedly signalled his desire to leave, citing a desire to be closer to his family in South America.
“The problem with Carlos is he missed his family,” Hughes said.
“That’s why he said if it was possible he wanted to leave the club, he had this situation with his family.
Yet sympathy was in short supply in the columns of British newspapers on Wednesday, where several commentators applauded Mancini for signalling the end of Tevez’s career in Manchester.
“He should never be considered for the squad, never train with the first team. If he can be sold, profitably, then let him go. If not, let him rot beyond the reserves,” Daily Mail chief sports writer Martin Samuel stated.