Tevez is City's best player by far, says Neville

 

A certain light went out of Manchester derbies when Gary Neville announced in February that he had played his last game for Sir Alex Ferguson.

The image of Carlos Tevez arriving on the touchline to taunt Neville after a goal last season will always be a symbol of the new-found competitiveness between the sides brought by City's new wealth. It was a response to the defender's suggestions that Ferguson had been no fool to sell the Argentine.

Neville, whose new roles as a Manchester United ambassador and Sky Sports summariser were confirmed yesterday, insisted that he would cross the street to shake his former teammate's hand and actually liked him, though he affirmed ahead of next weekend's FA Cup semi-final that while the Argentine was one of many greats at United, he is the footballing great at Eastlands.

"He is their best player," said Neville, who will receive a testimonial against Juventus at Old Trafford on Tuesday 24 May. "He's been their most important player for the last couple of years. Here he was among many great players at the time who could win you the match. At City they have other good players around him but without a shadow of doubt he has proved he is the best." It is a suspicion which has caused fear among those at City who yearn to break the 35-year wait for a trophy but who saw Tevez so subdued in the most recent Old Trafford derby.

Neville is far less antagonised by the Tevez "Welcome to Manchester" billboard than his manager. "You can talk a lot, you can put pictures up in city centres, you can suggest that Manchester City are going to be the new force, but the reality is that it will all come down to what happens on the pitch and the players who are playing."

The feeling within the dressing room about City is that United have faced such assailants before, he added. "We've seen it before – we've seen it before with Blackburn, we saw it with Leeds, we saw it with Chelsea, we see it now with City and Tottenham – there have been loads of clubs who have thrown money at it over the last 15 years. Some of them have been successful and some haven't. All I know is that United have remained successful throughout that period."

Neville was more indignant about Fabio Capello's failure to communicate to Rio Ferdinand the news that the England captaincy had gone to John Terry. "I think it was unfortunate; unnecessary," he said. "The manager has every right to decide who his captain should be but... it created a problem he did not need to create. That was strange because he is such an experienced manager. But sometimes strange things happen with England."

Neville will use his testimonial to support sustainable development projects – an area in which he is interested – and supporter initiatives in the UK and overseas. Ticket details are available through the United website.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing