Shanghai (AFP) – Handsomely paid Carlos Tevez cannot expect to play every game for the Shanghai Shenhua side just because of his famous name, the Chinese team warned on Monday, the latest twist in his turbulent spell with the club.
The Argentine, among the highest earners in football on a reported $850,000 a week, has endured a miserable nine months in China and did not feature again at the weekend.
Shanghai’s new coach Wu Jingui said earlier this month that the 33-year-old was overweight and would not play again until he shaped up, only to bring him on as a substitute for the derby at Shanghai SIPG days later.
Tevez duly scored his third Chinese Super League (CSL) goal this season, but SIPG went on to hammer struggling Shenhua 6-1.
He was back on the bench in the next game but on Saturday was not included at all in the 3-1 home win over Guangzhou R&F.
That sparked fresh conjecture about Tevez’s future in China, where he has failed to settle off the pitch and missed half the games injured.
Shanghai Shenhua spokesman Ma Yue on Monday hit out at media reports suggesting Tevez and Wu — who replaced Gus Poyet when the Uruguayan quit two weeks ago — had fallen out and said communication between the pair was “very smooth”.
Tevez “should have already realised, clearly, that he can’t be sure to be included in the starting line-up based on his fame only,” Ma wrote on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
Ma said the player had brought his own private fitness coach from Argentina to help him get fit and was doing additional training sessions every day.
“All of the above is not to make excuses for Tevez, but I just want to say that he hasn’t given up like certain foreign media have said,” wrote Ma.
Tevez, who made his name at Boca Juniors in Argentina before moves to Corinthians, West Ham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, has struggled to settle in throughout his career.
The CSL season ends in November and Tevez has hinted that he would like to return to Argentina and Boca.