The agent of Carlos Tevez has hit back at Gary Neville’s comments that the forward ‘downed tools’ during his second season at Manchester United before his controversial departure.
Tevez spent two seasons at Manchester United and enjoyed a hugely successful period at Old Trafford, forming a formidable forward line alongside Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, winning two league titles and the Champions League under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Argentina international controversially left the club to sign for rivals Manchester City where he added a third Premier League title to his collection, and Neville has recalled his disappointment at the manner of Tevez’s defection.
Speaking on Tevez’s final season at the club, Neville said: “What annoyed me about Tevez was he downed tools in his second season, that and sitting on the treatment bench, starting coming out late for training, started messing around, he was playing the club.
“I couldn’t stand that. Particularly as I was at the time, which was a ferocious Manchester United person inside, never thought about anything else in my life, only United every single day.
“And the idea that someone would come into that changing room and not be at their best. I understood that he had circumstances but his people were in his ear all of the time, he was so led by his people.
Some of you forget just how good the Rooney and Tevez partnership was at Man Utd 🔥🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/rdo70viY6S
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“It was always going to come to an end like it did. I felt disappointed as a professional that he didn’t act the right way. I didn’t have a problem with players leaving the club like David Beckham left the club, Cristiano Ronaldo left the club, Ruud van Nistelrooy left the club, great, great players.
“But there was a way to leave the club and there was a way to behave when you were there. So the problem I had with Tevez wasn’t that he went to play for Manchester City – which in itself is a problem for me – that wasn’t the main issue, it was the way in which it played out in the last few months. I didn’t like it.”
Tevez’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, has now hit back and defended the forward, pointing to an impressive goalscoring record as evidence that there was nothing wrong with his client’s attitude and commitment.
“Absolutely not, he was desperate to play. He scored 15 goals with seven assists, his record was superb. Every time, he was available for every game bar the three he missed through injury,” Joorabchian told Sky Sports.
“I think the person’s professionalism to be questioned is Gary Neville because he didn’t do his homework on Carlos’ career or as a reporter to say why Tevez wasn’t [professional]. He never made any phone calls, he never asked the question of me or anyone to know what has happened. He just makes comments time and time again.
“By saying things like that, he is putting a mark on the back of a player who has won double or triple the trophies he has ever won. Carlos has won trophies in every single league he has ever played in, he has been nominated as player of the year in South America more than any other player in history and now, at the age of 34, he’s just won the league and scored the winning goal with Boca Juniors again.”
Joorabchian also opened up on the reasoning behind Tevez’s departure from the club and says the forward wanted to remain with the Red Devils, insisting United failed to take up an option to sign the player on a long term basis before his controversial switch to the Etihad.
"You'll never beat those three for me!" 👀
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“Generally speaking, Gary Neville spoke about professionalism, the treatment table and he spoke about people being in his [Tevez’s] ear. What he doesn’t understand is, and this is when a reporter should have the correct information, no matter who was in his ear, no matter who was speaking to him, if Man United had wanted to exercise an option, all they had to do was sign a paper and send it to the Premier League.
“He wanted to stay at Man United right after Moscow and winning the Champions League when he came on and he knew what he had to do. He had to get under Chelsea’s skin, he got [Didier] Drogba sent off and they ended up on penalties, which they won, and it was a great moment.
“They came back and him, Rooney and Ronaldo had a great combination going forward, they were very happy, but Man United didn’t exercise the option. It was as simple as that.
“Gary Neville is speaking about people being in his ear as if Tevez decided at that point to leave during that year, but it was Man United who didn’t exercise that option. Tevez only decided after the option had expired that he had been sitting there for nine months and no one has exercised the option.”