WHEN THE NEWS filtered through that Carlos Tevez was finally ready to end his strike and return to Manchester City, we expected him to return with a little contrition.
Instead, he landed in the north-west with all guns still blazing.
Rather than get back down to business Tevez decided to continue his war of words with Roberto Mancini, saying the Italian treated him “like a dog.”
Yesterday, as Mancini prepared for his Europa League clash in Porto: the very first question was, predictably, not about the first leg against the reigning champions, but about his returning Argentine.
Refreshingly, rather than blank the matter completely, the Italian told reporters honestly:
“I don’t want to answer your question because the game is more important than this, but I answer only this question and after this no more,”
With that proviso, Mancini uttered his last words on the matter, for now, saying:
“I totally disagree with Carlos and what he says because I have never treated him badly. Maybe it’s the opposite and I have treated him too well, always. Now – finished. I don’t want to talk any more.”
The pair have always had an uneasy relationship despite the former Inter coach entrusting Tevez with the club captaincy.
Two years ago, Mancini allowed Tevez open-ended compassionate leave to be with his daughter Katie who was born prematurely and the striker has appeared to engineer a move away from the club ever since.
The row came to a very public crescendo during City’s Champions League group stage defeat away to Bayern Munich, when Tevez apparently refused to appear as a substitute with his side trailing 2-0.
Mancini attempted to draw a line under the matter as his side chase a Premier League title, saying: “This is the last question I answer on this for the next three months.”
However, unlike their title bid, you sense this sentence was carved more out of hope than expectation.