Driven to another Tevez distraction

Posted by Simon Curtis

Manchester City don't do slow news weeks.

Information that Carlos Tevez had been arrested on suspicion of driving while already disqualified reached most of us without more than a flicker of surprise. Having offloaded the skewed genius that is Mario Balotelli, it was important that somebody step forward to take up the reins. Tevez, of Fuerte Apache, Buenos Aires, gave his name, address and apparently denied knowing what the word "constabulary" meant. If he had, it was suggested, he might have opened some of the police letters sent to his address. He was also quoted as saying, allegedly of course, "I no like Manchester, I no like fishy chips."

-- Tevez facing jail time for driving offence

There is, of course, a serious side to this, and if Tevez ends up in prison for this latest misdemeanour, expect faces to return to rigid seriousness pretty quickly. The City striker, short on goals this season and ill of discipline on several well-documented occasions in the past, was banned from driving in January but was picked up by the Cheshire police Thursday evening driving his white Porsche Cayenne down the scenic A538 in Macclesfield without a care in the world.

Balotelli's departure was supposed to open up possibilities for a reformed Tevez on the pitch, rather than as a direct replacement as the "unhinged one" in City's squad of many colours. There have been many scrapes for the Argentine since his headline-making move across Manchester -- the transfer itself was heralded by a giant poster in the city centre, proclaiming "Welcome to Manchester," which did not exactly go down well with the Old Trafford hierarchy.

In those early days, Tevez appeared wearing what looked like a fishing net on his head, perhaps an ancient Patagonian headpiece worn by the sailors of Puerto Madryn, close to where all those thousands of penguins live. Maybe it held mythical powers and gave the wearer an innate sense of both irony and persecution, because, since that moment, Tevez has flooded our senses with a fair bit of both.

Tevez has at various times told the club he had to leave, owing to the apparent dearth of places to eat, the proximity to his family (which was in Spain at the time, if memory serves), the dreadful mind-sapping climate or the sad lack of tango bars in Denton. Brought up in a slum in Buenos Aires, it was always tempting to ask how a millionaire lifestyle in an admittedly damp western European city could be so much of a grind.

Then came the defining moment, one September evening in the beer-drenched city of Munich. As we filed towards the Allianz Arena to witness City's first away game in the Champions League, the Oktoberfest activities weighed heavy on our minds. In truth, not all of the City fans present would have noticed if Tevez had played naked, never mind refused to come on as sub, but text messages from friends back home watching the game on television were soon confirming it to those of us in the ground: the player had steadfastly refused to play for Manchester City.

City fans will forgive a lot of things, but that night in southern Germany severed the link with Tevez for many. That he eventually returned to action and skewered three goals at Norwich as City reeled United in during that unforgettable title run-in last season, was a redeeming factor for some. Many, however, continued to see him as a man who had overstepped the mark and who could never be trusted again, never be respected in the sky blue shirt.

This season, Tevez's form has swung from lively to patchy. The goals have not been forthcoming. The energetic running and covering and harrying is still his trademark, and for this reason: He remains a more than useful foil for Sergio Aguero or Edin Dzeko. Carlos Tevez is a fantastic player with an Argentinian flair for wrapping delightful technique in a glove full of golf balls. He is power and subtlety, water and fire, but he is also extremely high maintenance, and this latest scrape may help to bring down the curtain on his eventful sojourn in the blue half of Manchester.

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