I watched and read the reaction to the striker's spat with Mancini with something akin to bemusement. This was always going to end badly; something I've mentioned in the past.
Tevez is a mercenary; I'd like to say plain and simple, but that isn't the case. Those that condemn Tevez, as most of the national media did in typical knee-jerk reaction style, miss the point.
To understand Tevez you have to go back to his childhood and the extreme poverty and danger of his upbringing in Argentina. Individuals who grow up in such conditions and become successful have a tendency to be very driven and focused on financial independence with an over developed sense of right and wrong when it comes to perceived disrespect. For an English version of this, albeit without the dangerous gun violence of Tevez's youth, you need only look at the former Leeds United and England manager Don Revie as detailed in the superb Roger Hermiston book, Clough and Revie: The Rivals that changed English football (Look for my review shortly).
Tevez has to play, he has to be highly paid, he has to be the focus. Anything less will be perceived as a lack of respect. You see this is his play, even when the striker is successful. Time and again Tevez comes back in search of the ball and it is completely within character that he takes the penalties, the most high pressure and individualistic part of a football match.
Which explains both his departure from Manchester United and the situation that occurred on the bench against Bayern Munich. Anything less than being in the starting 11 will be perceived by Tevez as an insult. To argue that he must respect his manager's decision, standard player/manager convention and the proper way things should be done fails to even come close to comprehending what makes Tevez tick.
We saw this at United. Sir Alex Ferguson has crafted a fine squad over the years where each player understands their responsibility. Former City boss Hughes addresses this in his article in the Daily Telegraph where he talks about players at United giving "deference" to the club. Essentially knowing your place in the scheme of things and accepting that. The only exception in recent times? Carlos Tevez. The Argentinian was unhappy when Ferguson's formations meant that he started on the bench.
So Tevez came to City where Hughes pitched him on the idea of being the focal point of the evolution of City into a world class club. Today the team has an embarrassment of riches on the pitch, but when Tevez signed it was a significant event. This point can't be undersold. Without Tevez there is no FA Cup trophy, there is no qualification for the Champions League. Not for at least a couple of more seasons because Tevez was the lynchpin, the statement of intent that brings in the other players.
Tevez was Hughes' signing. His statement. Welcome to Manchester and the start of the noisy neighbours. As Hughes rightly comments the situation with Tevez wouldn't have happened under his watch not least because Hughes would never have brought in players that would play ahead of Tevez in the City line-up. I am not saying that what Tevez did is right in any manner. What I'm saying is that given who Tevez is and how he got to where he is, placing him on the bench for City's most important game of the year was a miscalculation of truly epic proportions.
Hughes calls Mancini autocratic in this weekend's article. Essentially it's Mancini's way or not at all. That is Mancini's prerogative as he is the manager, but City's mistake was not to sell Tevez in the summer. Tevez has never been the proper fit for Mancini's tactics. It is no surprise that David Silva has blossomed even further with Tevez out of the line-up because he no longer has to worry about Tevez getting in the way and constantly coming back into the Attacking Midfield area.
To criticize Tevez as some over paid, coddled, privilege athlete with no understanding of the average fan is to misunderstand him completely. I am not excusing Tevez. Look at the people you work with. Some are able to fit into the rules and regulations of your environment with ease. For others, it appears a constant battle. The general public, fuelled by the media, seem to take this attitude that just because a professional athlete is well paid that they automatically must conform. Life doesn't work that way. That's why the best managers are usually the best man-managers rather than specifically tactical geniuses.
No one knows what happened on the bench in Munich. Regardless of whether Tevez refused to play or refused to warm up a second time. That Tevez and his advisors are apparently now talking about suing Mancini for defamation of character is completely expected. Today the club and the fans are basking in the afterglow of quite possibly the most amazing derby between City and United. Without the signing of Tevez it doesn't happen. Nor can it be argued that without Tevez joining the defeat of United would merely be postponed. With the new UEFA status quo rules being put into effect, City had to be successful this season and last to essentially get ahead of the regulations.
In signing Tevez, City picked up a time-bomb. A brilliant goal scorer, but a time-bomb nonetheless. Once Hughes left it was only a matter of time.
There is I'm afraid no easy solution to this. The club have fined the player four more weeks of wages subject to it being ratified by the Players Association. Tevez will appeal internally at City, almost certainly lose that bid and escalate the affair. We are going to be reading about this all the way until January when the focus should be that City are leading the league and celebrating having some of the best players in the entire Premier League on the team.
This is the proverbial rat-hole of a time-sync. It does not benefit the club and its fans in any manner. So we return to my original reaction... And?