Carlos Tevez laid the blame for his departure from Old Trafford squarely at the door of Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday, rejecting the Manchester United manager's suggestion that he had started conversations with his new club Manchester City six months ago and insisting that he had received none of the messages Ferguson said he had sent from his holiday base in southern France, exhorting him to stay at Old Trafford.
Tevez's £25.5m move across the city has delivered Manchester City an even more significant asset than last August's marquee signing Robinho and symbolic evidence that their riches really can reach parts that United, so desperate to keep Tevez that they eventually offered him wage parity with Rio Ferdinand and Dimitar Berbatov, cannot. Tevez has made no secret of Ferguson's failure to communicate as he sees it, but his dissection of his old manager's narrative of events will make for a tasty pre-match press conference before Sunday 20 September, when Hughes' new-look side venture into Old Trafford.
"I was two years at United but Sir Alex never called me or sent any texts," said Tevez, who arrives at Eastlands on £150,000 a week. "I don't think this is the way to treat a player who has been at the club for two years. There was no line of communication. It was not because of the fans that I did not stay, but because Alex Ferguson and [chief executive] David Gill did not want to keep me there."
There was confusion last night about the precise translation of Tevez's words. An alternative version suggested that the 25-year-old had said that Ferguson had no right to expect a reply to text messages the club had sent, when they had ignored him for two years. Tevez's suggestion that his only conversation with Ferguson followed a "match with Roma" to "discuss a situation about going to play for Argentina" appeared, at face value, to suggest the two had not spoken since 2 October 2007, after United's group stage game with Roma and 11 days before Tevez played for Argentina against Chile. But the rancour Tevez still feels is clear and underlines again just how desperate he was to leave the Premier League champions. "Having a coach that wants me and wants me to play, and a good fan base and an environment in which I am happy, these are the most important things to me," Tevez said.
The Argentine was given an immediate sense of the footballing divide he has breached by moving from one Manchester club to another when he stepped from his car outside the City of Manchester stadium – to be greeted by 400 City fans shouting "Carlos Tevez is a Blue" and referring to the Munich air disaster. That kind of vitriol cannot have been in his mind when he contemplated leaving a club he says he adores. "Part of my heart will always be with them," he said of United.
Tevez was the latest in a line of new City players to insist he had not arrived for the money, despite receiving a £50,000 a week pay rise with his move, and he also rejected suggestions that he has demanded the regular starting place which was denied him across the city. "In a team you have to win respect of team-mates and sweat for the shirt. I have not had any assurance that I will be an automatic member of the first team so I will fight hard to become one. I am a professional so I have to think as a professional. This is a new chapter in my life and a new challenge, so I am focusing on that."
Style verdict: I'm not with the band
Carlos Tevez yesterday arrived at his new home, the City of Manchester Stadium, wearing a rather dubious crocheted headband. Is it a fashion statement? Or did he have cold ears?
True, footballers have been wearing headbands for decades. How else to keep all those unruly mullets out of their eyes? David Beckham has sported not only a loosely knotted kerchief on occasion but also a thin, braided band, to hold back his locks.
However, Tevez is kidding himself if he thinks he is in Beckham territory with this woolly choice. Its excessive width makes him look like he's recovering from a lobotomy, while the odd knit-one-pearl-one detail leaves one wondering if his Nan made it for him. Perhaps he's following one of fashion's most important rules and trying to draw attention away from his face. Dolce & Gabbana showed Alice bands bedecked in jewels and ribbons this season – he could have at least tried one of them.
Tevez is a player who gives his all on the pitch, but his gung-ho attitude won't cut it with the fash pack, sadly.