Striker speaks out

Tevez slams ''sock-sucker'' Neville

January 21, 2010
By Soccernet staff

In another interview, broadcast on ESPN Radio in Argentina, Carlos Tevez has again lashed out at Gary Neville, calling him a ''sock-sucker'' and branding him a ''moron'' for his lack of respect in his pre-match comments about the striker ahead of the Carling Cup semi-final.

Gary Neville and Carlos Tevez
GettyImagesGary Neville and Carlos Tevez exchange gestures after the striker's first goal

Listen to the interview (in Spanish)

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Tevez made gestures to the United bench after scoring twice when City beat United 2-1 in their Carling Cup semi-final on Tuesday and Neville's response came in the form of a raised middle finger. The United captain had asserted that he would not have paid £25 million to sign Tevez, which provoked its own response from the striker.

Speaking in a radio interview in his native language on ESPN Argentina's La Oral Deportiva show, Tevez said: "My celebration was directed at Gary Neville. He acted like a complete sock-sucker [boot-licker] when he said I wasn't worth £25 million just to suck up to the manager. I don't know what the hell that idiot is talking about me for. I never said anything about him.

"I will never show a lack of respect towards the fans. Just as I was running off to celebrate the penalty I had scored, I came across Gary and I said to myself: "Shut your trap, keep quiet". I didn't go overboard in my celebration and it was directed at Gary, not at Ferguson and not at the fans.

"I think he did the wrong thing because I was his team-mate and I never said anything bad about him. He was saying that Ferguson was right when he said that I wasn't worth £25 million, when he was saying this and that... I always respected Neville."

His comments in the British media quoted Tevez accusing Neville of being "disrespectful", but speaking in his native tongue, Tevez made his feelings about Neville clear. "I was at lunch with the players in the team hotel and all the papers were laid out. I read them - well, 'read them', obviously I don't read [English].

"My team-mates were telling me about it and asking what I thought. And I wondered to myself: what's the tarado [moron] talking about me for when I never said anything about him, when there was never any [issue] with us. It was a lack of respect for a compañero [fellow footballer], aside of the fact that we had won a lot of things together.

"You have to do your talking on the pitch. I don't talk much in England - mainly because of the language. I don't like to get involved in conflict. I'm happy because I know what I am. Thank God I had the chance to get revenge with City, although there is still the second leg to come," he added, concluding with a joke: "I know that Ferguson loves me, that's why he always talks about me, ha ha."

The British media had reported that Tevez insisted there was "nothing malicious" about the various gestures he made towards the United bench and directors after each of his two goals, which were intended to make a point to the people who thought he was "not worth the money" required to keep him at United in the summer.

But while Tevez considered his celebrations to be harmless "banter", he did not appreciate being on the receiving end of Neville's response - particular after his former team-mate had been amongst those claiming United had made the right move in letting the striker leave.

"Gary was very disrespectful, which is out of character, but he didn't know the whole story of why I left Manchester United and I believe I deserved his respect,'' Tevez had said. "Football is a form of theatre and it was just a form of banter. There was nothing malicious intended. I was not trying to incite anyone but I was entitled to say to Neville that he should have been more respectful.

"For the second goal I ran to the touchline and cupped my ears and looked up to the part of the ground where the United directors were sitting, and also to Ferguson in the dugout, because I wanted them to know this was my response to them saying I was not worth the money.

"People from United have been speaking about me publicly and criticising me but I wanted to do my talking on the pitch because that was the best way of responding to all these people, such as Neville, who were saying United were right to let me go.''