With big money comes big expectations, and it turns out Carlos Tevez isn’t fulfilling them for his Chinese football club. In January the Argentine striker moved to Shanghai Greenland Shenhua for a reported salary of $875,000 a week – a sum that makes him the game’s highest paid player. However, since arriving in China Tevez has scored only three goals in 13 matches and struggled with injury. This led the club’s chairman Wu Xiaohui to tell local media that Tevez “did not meet expectations”. Worse the club’s new coach Wu Jingui – who replaced the recently fired Uruguayan manager Gus Poyet – has accused him of being overweight.
Evidently the unhappiness flows both ways. In spite of being handsomely paid, Tevez has not been shy about criticising his new surroundings. In an interview with South American TV show La Casa del Futbol he dismissed Chinese players with the remark “technically they are not very good”. And he says that on its current trajectory, China’s league has a very long way to go before it rivals the top divisions like the English Premiership and Spain’s La Liga. “Their football is very different. I don’t think they are going to get to the same heights, not even in 50 years,” he said.
Tevez has previously enjoyed success with leading European clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus. So if the quality of the Chinese Super League is so much lower than in Europe (as he has made plain in his TV comments), you’d think the prolific striker – who scored 39 goals in 66 appearances for Juventus – ought to be scoring hat tricks in most games. The fact that he isn’t hitting the back of the net perhaps lends credence to the view of Shanghai Greenland Shenhua’s chairman that Tevez is underperforming or else that the 33 year-old is simply well past his best.
Keeping track, Jan 12, 2018: In WiC382 we looked at the struggles in China of star Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, who’d failed to make an impact with local club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. The footballer had been bedevilled with injuries and scored only a handful of goals. Perhaps this would have mattered less if: for one thing, he wasn’t earning $875,000 a week (making him the world’s best paid soccer player); and second, he hadn’t bad mouthed Chinese soccer, saying of local players “technically they aren’t very good” and predicting the local league would not reach European levels “even in 50 years”. The writing seemed to be on the wall as far back as September when Shanghai’s chairman said he “hadn’t met expectations” and the new coach called him “overweight”. This month, after just 20 appearances in China, Tevez returned to his old Argentine club Boca Juniors for a third stint. The 33 year-old will have taken a massive pay cut.
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