Manchester City star Carlos Tevez on Wednesday denied refusing to come off the substitutes bench during his team’s Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich.
City manager Roberto Mancini angrily said Tevez was “finished” at the club after accusing the Argentinian of refusing to appear in the second half of Tuesday’s game with the Premier League team trailing 2-0.
But Tevez denied Mancini’s comments in a statement on Wednesday.
“In Munich on Tuesday I had warmed up and was ready to play. This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play,” Tevez said.
The 27-year-old striker blamed his failure to appear on “confusion” on the City bench and apologised to the club’s fans for “any misunderstanding.”
“I would like to apologise to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich,” Tevez said.
Ex-players and media commentators were united in support behind Mancini’s hardlines stance on Wednesday, with former Liverpool Graeme Souness describing Tevez as a “disgrace to football.”
“He (Tevez) is one bad apple,” Souness told Sky Sports. “He’s a disgrace to football. He epitomises what most people think is wrong with modern football.
“It is totally unacceptable. He’s a football player and he is paid to play.
“He is refusing to help his team-mates. It’s all about him, him, him.”
Former City manager Mark Hughes, who signed Tevez before being replaced by Mancini in 2009, said the player’s personal situation was behind his apparent unhappiness in Manchester.
Tevez has repeatedly signalled his desire to leave the club, citing a desire to be closer to his family in South America.
“The problem with Carlos is he missed his family,” Hughes said.
“That’s why he said if it was possible he wanted to leave the club, he had this situation with his family.
Yet sympathy was in short supply in the columns of British newspapers on Wednesday, where several commentators applauded Mancini for signalling the end of Tevez’s career in Manchester.
“He should never be considered for the squad, never train with the first team. If he can be sold, profitably, then let him go. If not, let him rot beyond the reserves,” Daily Mail chief sports writer Martin Samuel stated.
The Guardian’s Richard Williams meanwhile accused Tevez — a “grotesquely over-indulged 27-year-old infant” — of committing a “crime against the game.”