According to Roberto Mancini Carlos Tevez refused to play for Manchester City against Bayern Munich last night, while the striker said this is not the case and that he is willing to give his all for the club. But if City sack him for breach of contract and hold onto his registration, what next for the one-time talisman? The director of his forthcoming biopic, Apache, says Tevez would've been a drug dealer if he wasn't a footballer
We all know what Tevez is capable of. Last term he has almost singlehandedly dragged Manchester City up to the highest reaches of the table but few know the man himself and the truth about his escape from a Buenos Aires slum to become one of the world's greatest footballers. Which is why Gaston Pauls, Tevez’s friend decided to film ‘Apache’ a £2 million Eminem 8 Mile style biopic about the player’s escape from a Buenos Aires slum to become one of the world's greatest footballers. With the screenplay now finalised, Pauls is now set to start the casting and begin shooting.
“I first met Carlos about six years ago when I went to his place to watch an Argentina match with Sergio Goycochea [Argentina’s World Cup 1990 goalkeeper] and he struck me as a very natural guy,” says Pauls who himself starred as a conman in the widely acclaimed movie Seven Kings.
“It was then that I decided I wanted to tell the world the story of his life since he grew up in Fort Apache – one of the world’s most dangerous slums. By now, Tevez could easily have been six feet under or involved in crime. He could be lying on the streets or behind bars; doing drugs or dealing them.”
“I was surprised by a lot of things Tevez told us. There were a lot of things you would have never imagined. He was really open. Usually when someone tells you their life story they tell you a softened version and make themselves as some sort of hero. But not Tevez - he told us stuff that has nothing to do with that.”
“I was surprised by a lot of things Tevez told us. There were a lot of things you would have never imagined."
Plenty of Premier League players come from tough backgrounds but Tevez’s crime ravaged ghetto makes Rooney’s Croxteth look like Mayfair in comparison. Buenos Aires’ Barrio Ejército de los Andes is nicknamed Fort Apache because it is one of the world’s most dangerous neighbourhoods. According to a recent census, Fuerte Apache houses 35,000 people in 4000 residences, although up to twice that number actually live there in extremely poor conditions. Considered a no go area by police it is commonly used as a bolt hole for local criminals.
“Carlos had choices to make back then,” says Pauls. “Temptations that were there and perhaps it would have been easier for a kid to fall for them instead of focusing his mind on his goal. Sometimes he had nothing to eat, but he went to training anyway. If Tevez didn’t have football I don’t think he’d be here today.”
Nicknamed Apache by friends, Tevez’s football talent was spotted early. He would play with much older kids just for the fun of it even and was spotted signed by Boca Juniors in 1997. That hunger which had driven him in the ghetto kickabouts never left him.
His gnarled feet, contorted by the fact that he couldn’t afford a new pair of football boots as he grew older, remain a permanent reminder of his roots. “He’s got claws instead of feet,” reveals Pauls. “Carlos once told me once that for a number of years he couldn’t afford a new pair of football boots. With time, his feet were getting bigger but he would still use those small shoes and that prevented his feet from growing normally. That’s why today he virtually has claws for feet. He lifts chunks of turf from the pitch whenever he burst into one of those trademark full-tilt runs of his. In a way, he’s like a wild animal.”
Football is men’s soap opera and there are few players in the history of football whose life story has seen quite as many dramatic twists and turns as Carlos Tevez. The Argentine was worshipped like a god at Boca where he made his debut as a 16 year old and in just four years had won the Copa Sudamericana, Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup. By 2005, interest in his private life became intrusive, the paparazzi glare never left his side, and by the time Boca sold him to Brazilian club Corinthians he expressed relief at gaining some distance he would gain from Argentina’s national press.
At £13.7 million the transfer to Brazil was the biggest ever in South American football but by the end of the season he had already lived up to the fee. He captained Corinthians to the title and was named the league’s best player becoming the first non-Brazilian player to win the award since 1976.
His subsequent move to West Ham may have been mired in legal controversy over his ownership but what remained unquestionable was Tevez’s sheer ability. His winning goal on the last day of the season against Manchester United saved the Hammers from regulation and secured his subsequent transfer to one of the world’s biggest clubs before he traded in the red half of Manchester for the blue half.
Now, after helping Manchester City to their first trophy in glorious technicolour and Champions League qualification, the nomadic striker has probably turned fans against him after his alleged hissy fit in The Allianz Arena last night and there will undoubtedly be months of headlines regarding his situation at Manchester City, with him as the stone faced Gunslinger pitched against Mancini's autocratic sheriff. You couldn’t make up. And if you did, you’d probably get your wrists slapped for exaggerating - it’s no wonder they’re making a movie about him.
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