Carlos Tevez has come under fire from team-mates and local media after he was spotted at Disneyland whilst his club Shanghai Shenhua were playing an away match against Changchun Yatai on Saturday.
The highly-paid Argentinean forward was ruled out through injury, but instead of travelling with the rest of the squad to China’s most northerly CSL destination, he was pictured strolling around the showpiece theme park with his family.
Unsurprisingly the news was greeted with disdain from fans and media alike. In a back page commentary entitled “Tevez, what is the matter with you?”, the Wenhui Daily, one of Shanghai’s most long-standing newspapers, openly criticized the forward, who is said to be one of the highest paid footballers in the world, earning a reputed 650k Euros a week.
“Being injured isn’t a reason not to travel with your team and keep their morale up for an away match, the Argentinian clearly doesn’t care at all about how bad this looks,” the paper said, adding, “He continues to do whatever he pleases, but at a time when his team had gone three games without a victory, going out for leisure in such a public manner only shows a lack of respect for his club and this city.”
The report goes on to say that Tevez relationship with his team-mates has deteriorated in recent games and he has had “almost zero” communication with them. The report also quotes an anonymous first team Shenhua player over an incident in the recent 4-2 defeat to Hebei China Fortune during which Tevez’ performance left a lot to be desired. During the match, after Tevez made yet another mistake, a team-mate shouted out in frustration and turned to the bench, only to be greeted with shrugs.
“Mistakes are ok if you keep a professional attitude on the training field and gives his all during the match, but Tevez….” the player was quoted as saying.
The Wenhui Daily also compares Tevez with Shanghai SIPG’s Hulk and points out that the Brazilian accompanied his team to Japan and took part in light training for their match last week against Urawa Reds, despite not being fit enough to play. The paper also went on to detail other issues surrounding Tevez’ lack of desire to take part in certain aspects of training.
“We can accept he is paid a lot of money and given very special treatment, but at least he has to let people see a certain level of commitment and effort,” the report quoted the same unnamed Shenhua player, adding, “But if you are going to play in such a sloppy way, be unprofessional and lacking determination, how can you still be called a star?”
Despite, or perhaps even because of, Tevez’ absence, Shenhua recorded a rare away victory with a 3-2 win over Changchun in a match that was switched between home and away because of last month’s fire at Hongkou Stadium.
The general consensus in Shanghai at the moment sees confidence in Gus Poyet for the time being, but Tevez was being criticized before his Disneyland trip and there are now big doubts over weather he will see out his contract. The man Tevez was brought into replace, Demba Ba, is now back playing on loan for Besitkas after his horror leg break in last July’s Shanghai derby.
Should he return to form, one possible scenario is Tevez leaves in the summer and Ba returns to replace him – a move which would please most Shenhua supporters as Ba is held in very high regard.
Alternatively, going from Shenhua’s transfer history of moving on foreign players as soon as possible, it is more likely that another big star may arrive in the summer to replace Tevez, unless the Argentinian can turn things around which is still a possibility at this early juncture in the season.
Ground: Hongkou Football Stadium, Hongkou District, Shanghai
Capacity: 35,000 (26,000 for football)
Honours: Chinese top-tier league champions: 1995
Chinese top-tier league runners-up: 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2008
Chinese FA Cup winners: 1998
Chinese FA Cup runners up: 1995, 1997, 2015