Just a couple of years ago, Carlos Tevez - after a pretty stellar career at Man United and Juventus (amongst others) - ‘semi-retired’ and went home to play for his Argentinian boyhood club, Boca Juniors. He was then tempted to move to China as the worlds highest paid player (at the time) on a reputed salary of $41 million a year. Not bad for someone that was apparently ‘semi-retired’.
But it’s not ending well. After a less than impressive first season Tevez was late returning from Argentina for his second, and was initially deemed unfit to play. His chairman at Shanghai Shenhua explained:
However, due to a lack of winter training and match fitness, he didn’t meet our expectations.
The former West Ham forward has been booed by his own supporters, has started only eleven games this season and has scored just three goals.
Carlos then got the hump, describing Chinese players as “not naturally skilled” and doubting whether they will be able to compete with the best nations “even in 50 years”.
In short... he’s bored and homesick. Well I’m sorry, but for £630,000 per week I’d be doing bloody cartwheels if that’s what it took to keep the man happy. But there again, after a year and a half on that money I guess it starts to lose its pulling power.
Interestingly, Oscar is rumoured to be pretty unhappy playing in China as well, and if the feeling is mutual then we may see some of the Asian stars heading home. Lets hope for a lesser salary than they were on when they last played in Europe.
It’s a similar story in PSG apparently where the current highest paid player in the world, Neymar, is upsetting the locals. It started with the move itself, and the head of La Liga Javier Tebas asking UEFA for an investigation into PSG’s alleged breaking of the FFP rules:
We’ve caught [PSG] peeing in the swimming pool and Neymar is peeing off the diving board.
Not content with pissing off the diving board, Neymar is also pissing off his team mates with his extravagant fee and corresponding ego. First off, the club allegedly issued a message to a list of their most influential players, saying that because of Neymar’s cost they were all liable to be sold to bring the income in to meet the FFP obligations. That was always going to go down well.
Then Neymar fell out big time with Edinson Cavani, his strike partner along with Kylian Mbappé. Cavani was PSG’s designated penalty taker having scored 14 of his previous 16 attempts, but when Cavani stepped up to take a penalty in a recent match against Lyon, Neymar blocked his way.
Words were spoken. Had handbags been available, probably all hell would have broken loose. Cavani managed to retain the ball, but missed the kick. And then it descended into playground farce. Apparently the pair had to be separated in the dressing room. The team split into two camps – all the threatened players siding with Cavani. The manager declared he was staying out of it:
I have told them to sort it out between themselves.
Now... that's how you step up to the plate. But then strangely the Club issued a statement denying that they’d offered Cavani a £1 million bonus not to take penalties anymore. Then, shock, horror - Neymar ‘unfriended’ Cavani on Facebook.
And it’ll probably run and run, and it probably goes on to a greater or lesser extent in all football clubs. It certainly didn’t do PSG too much harm, as they then went on to beat Bayern Munich 2-0 in the Champions League.
Which earned Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti the sack. And which may have come as a surprise to him as only five days earlier, his chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, gave him his ‘full backing’:
(He) is not being criticised by us. For a coach it is not easy at Bayern Munich, you have to balance all the demands. But if anyone can do it, it’s our Carlo.
But apparently no one can, and less than a week later Carlo was theirs no longer – it’s a fickle business this footie manager lark.
And scurrilous rumours hint that he may be West Ham-bound, despite Slaven Bilic currently digging himself out of his hole. Whilst it would be good to see Ancelotti back in the Premier League, please, not at West Ham. He’d bring a dignity to the position that the club don’t deserve in much the same way that Benitez has at Newcastle.
But it was interesting watching the Newcastle-Liverpool tie at the weekend when the commentator picked out a woman in the crowd who was apparently tied in with Middle Eastern investors, thereby prompting speculation about a possible take-over of Newcastle. How? How can they pick out someone most of us have never heard of from the crowd? Presumably she’s in the directors box, but surely they must get tipped off before hand? Either that or they have facial recognition technology on a global scale sitting next to their fluffy headphones and thermos of tomato soup.
If, and it’s a big if, a takeover of Newcastle with Arab funds were to take place, how would that go down with us? Probably about on a par with a North Korean missile test over Seaham.
Liverpool continue to under-perform, gifting Newcastle the goal to draw level, after which Jurgen Klopp explained the problem:
There are different ways to get one win in seven. You can play really bad and lose a lot of games or you play more than a few games really, really good. Most of the games actually we were the better side but a few chances are enough for the opponent to score and we need a lot more and in the end we have had the same number of goals. That happens too often in the last few weeks, of course.
And I almost understand that – almost, but it’s one thing to describe the problem – when is he going to address it? Liverpool have been shocking defensively for at least a season and a half, so why isn’t he doing something about it?
He should take a long look at Sean Dyche. Ok, maybe not too long, but the Burnley back four have played every minute of the Premier League this season and they’re level on points with Liverpool based mainly on solid defensive performances, despite spending a fraction of what the Anfield side have.
And this weekend they beat Everton, who spent about £140 million on new players this summer. Luckily, Everton’s chairman has given Ronald Koeman ‘his full backing’. Lucky indeed, because Everton and Carlo Ancellotti looks like a pretty good fit to me.
My favourite story of the week comes from Malawi, where the Southern Region club Nchalo United lost a cup tie despite bribing four match officials with $20. United then complained to the authorities because the officials only returned $15. All four have now been banned for life, with the comment:
They did a very bad thing to soccer lovers in Malawi. They lost their human dignity.
So the officials are punished for not returning the full bribe, but the Club isn’t for placing it in the first place? Sounds like FIFA are pretty active in Malawi.