This was supposed to be Manchester City‘s big night out in Europe, for meeting a team as big as Bayern Munich was a historical outcome for the club who are debuting in the Champions League. It turned out to be a dreadful one for the team as they were handed a lesson in European football by the German giants, suggesting clearly that the boys with the big money are not ready yet to take on the big boys of Europe. Mauled 2-0 in the away tie, City were hopeless and this was evident in the manager’s tactics and the players’ refusal to chase the game.
The headlines, however, were stolen by a man on the bench, a man who did not even play a part in the game, a man who in fact ‘refused’ to play a part in the game. On arguably one of City’s biggest nights in Europe where they were faced with a must-win situation, chasing a game in which they were face down 2-0 and needed an inspirational figure to lift them and grab the game by the scruff of its neck, the club’s messiah figure of last season let them down. Carlos Tevez ‘refused’ to warm up and come on, thus reopening a transfer saga that many believed was done and dusted when the Argentine failed to obtain a summer transfer.
Roberto Mancini confirmed in his post match presser that Tevez refused to help out his team which was in complete disarray and were in need of him. Edin Dzeko, who started the game, was taken off, much to his disappointment, and Nigel de Jong was brought on. Bringing on Tevez after calming things down was the plan, according to Mancini. Instead, what developed from that was perhaps the sucker punch in the Carlos Tevez saga, the final blow that means there is perhaps no turning back: Tevez is ‘finished’ at City.
“I brought De Jong on for Dzeko because I wanted to calm everything down for five minutes, not concede a third goal and then afterwards put Carlos Tevez on the pitch.
“Then he refused to go in, he refused to come onto the pitch. For me it’s a bad situation because it is impossible for a player to refuse to play and help the team.”
“I cannot accept this. Can you imagine a Bayern Munich, Milan or Manchester United player doing this?”
“He is finished for me. If I had my way he’d be out of the club.”
A man who was bought from bitter rivals Manchester United as part of a campaign that was designed to build City into a big competitor, Tevez was the face of the ‘Blue Moon’ revolution. Having turned his back on United supporters, Tevez soon won the support of the Blues faithful who looked at him as their messiah, the support which he repaid in full measure as he almost single-handedly led the team’s charge in the last two seasons, raising the club from mid-table fodder to Champions League contenders. Now that City are in the big league, the project that he was so central to building, Tevez’s turning his back on the club which has stood patient over his unstable antics since last season represents everything that is wrong about the modern footballer. Pundit Graeme Souness captured this emotion perfectly in his post match analysis.
“He’s one bad apple, a disgrace to football. He epitomises what most people think is wrong with modern football”
Since his toying with the club during the summer over his wishes to leave and ultimately failing to land his wish, Tevez was gradually phased out by Mancini in his plans, for the manager realised that sticking with a bad seed was too bad for the team. In the last two seasons, City were over-reliant on Tevez, and the manager realised that if City continued to do so, they would be doomed, especially after the striker’s transfer shenanigans threatened to hold the club to ransom. This has been evident so far this season where Mancini has opted for the regular pairing of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko up front, leaving Tevez to brood about his exit strategies.
On the night when City’s ‘fantastic four’ attack failed against the seasoned Germans, Mancini turned to the one man who fits the profile of a hunter capable of single handedly changing a game, thus giving him perhaps a chance at redemption by helping his team save their face against Bayern. When Tevez turned down that opportunity, he brought upon himself his own end. The face of the ‘Blue Moon’ revolution is officially finished with Manchester City, and the club will do well to sell him off and do away with the dead weight if they are to move forward. Mancini may have lost the plot on the big European night with regards to his tactics, but at least he has obtained closure on a long standing saga.