Following Carlos Tevez's latest public statement declaring his desire to leave Manchester City a blue writes says bon voyage to the littlest hobo with the scruples of a prairie dog...
So long Carlos Alberto and good luck. The statement you released yesterday signalling your intent to leave Manchester City hardly came as a surprise – since the original transfer request back in December we’ve been circling each other in an awkward, silent dance of a dying marriage. Eye-contact has been minimal, the love all but gone.
So this decree absolute – sent with typical errant cowardice from the safety of your homeland – is almost expected. The timing and geography certainly so. On the last occasion you returned to your beloved Argentina you spoke candidly of your disdain for Manchester, a city that has lavished you with wealth and adoration from both of its magnificent clubs. Being surrounded by over two and a half million decent men and women for four years – some of the finest this country has to offer - whilst being immersed in a thriving, exhilarating environment of culture, humour and astonishing architecture….I really hoped some of that class might rub off on you.
Perhaps it would of too if you had indeed immersed yourself. Instead you cosseted yourself away in one rented Cheshire mansion after another, pining for morcilla and your children, as the faint drums of bombo legüero eternally called you home.
That is where you’re heading now isn’t it Carlos? After all the tantrums and wailing and heartfelt kissing at the scribbled names of your offspring on your boots it would be quite spectacularly odd if you were to leave for Milan. As the crow flies the distance between Manchester and Buenos Aires is 6935 miles. Milan to Buenos Aires is 6934. A private jet can traverse that extra mile in just six seconds. I hope you treasure that additional quality time my friend. Use them wisely and squeeze in half a hug or a quick ruffle of their hair.
Sarcasm and disappointment aside I genuinely wish you well. How could I not when you raised aloft Manchester City’s first trophy in thirty five years only three short months ago. Okay, so you discarded several proffered City scarves to the floor as you climbed the Wembley steps, choosing instead to wrap yourself in an Argentina flag, but City’s resurrection as a footballing force now has you forever emblazoned pride of place in its imagery.
Then there was the ‘Welcome To Manchester’ poster, a prank that enraged Fergie to such a degree that off-licenses across the whole North-West rejoiced at the imminent soar in profits. Swiftly followed of course by the goading of the ‘boot-licking moron’ Gary Neville. I’ll give you this pal; you may not have shown us much love but you certainly secured a place in our hearts with your choice of enemy.
Your squat muscular build and head-down running becoming a familiar and thrilling spectacle at Eastlands and beyond.
On the pitch you were routinely and reliably sensational and should we receive our desired sum in the region of fifty large it will nearly amount to a million for every goal you snared in just sixty-five appearances. It’s an astonishing strike-rate that led to City being disparagingly termed – for a spell at least – as a ‘one-man team’, an accusation that was based more on your selfish hogging of possession than your undeniable brilliance. It’s difficult for your team-mates to shine when they are never passed to.
Defences were brick walls for you to run through and sometimes you succeeded; your squat muscular build and head-down running becoming a familiar and thrilling spectacle at Eastlands and beyond. You played with a bullish passion and a whole-hearted commitment to the cause and that, above all else, will never be forgotten.
That and your final parting gift to us – the sublime, physics-troubling free-kick against Stoke at the end of last term. With that one strike alone you returned me to wide-eyed childlike wonderment, a sensation I long assumed had been supplanted by adult aloofness.
To your credit Carlos you are a mercenary in the truest sense. That, bizarrely, is meant as a compliment though admittedly it comes from the back of my hand. Aside from the obligatory lip-service paid to fans you have never disguised your desire – throughout your entire career in fact - to move on to the next big pay-day. You come, you conquer, then you leave with your pockets stuffed with cash. A littlest hobo with the scruples of a prairie dog. Not to mention an agent, in Kia Joorabchain, who makes Bond villains look like Christopher Biggins.
To that extent – for the honest way you expose your dishonour – and of course the goals, good times, and glories you helped us achieve in your short spell at City, you are forgiven.
In the multi-billion pound circus of modern-day football sentiment is all-but-fleeting and life goes on. We will replace you. The rumoured Eto’o swap has fell through and it now looks increasingly like Aguero or Higuain to step into your graffitied boots. Could you please pass on a message to either of your fellow countrymen Carlos? A farewell act of courtesy? Tell them if they do exactly what you did on the pitch – and precisely the opposite off it – they will become genuine lasting legends. Not a temporary false idol like yourself.
You could have been a king. Instead you chose the ransom.
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