Despite the lore that surrounds Carlitos Tevez as el jugador del pueblo, the champion of the common man, the heart, soul and, most importantly, ballsy player around, he’s been involved in more sagas than a Norse nobleman. Indeed, in our own quest, or in any case a strange compulsion to begin on a digression, it occurs to us that perhaps this is not so far-fetched. After all, his constant harping as to the paramount importance of R.E.S.P.E.C.T, or staðr as the Norse would say, testifies to a keenly felt and dearly held moral code – though his estranged wife might have something to say about that, oho.
While most of the stories about and quotes attributed to Tevez in the English-speaking press are either utterly bogus fabrications or are based on translations so garbled they’d make a thumbless, i-phone-wielding chimp look like Dr. Johnson, he does only have himself to blame for his continued association with the evil, shape-shifting, self-interested, strife-sowing Kveldúlfr, aka Kia Joorabchian. While the squabbles feature many a fearsome, foul-smelling beast, however, and are usually, in the manner of all great bloody slogs, kicked off by something apparently innocuous like a witless, semi-literate Reuters report, they rarely leave our hero looking particularly radiant. The dye runs in the Charyibdian whirlpool of spin, you see. Pegamequemegusta is happy, nonetheless, to bring you the news that the latest Carlitos Tevez saga, in which our brave Apache was accused of refusing to fight the hated Brazilians in a mock battle in the icy wastes of Dubai last Novembertide, has come to an end.
All media men seem quite convinced now that Carlitos will indeed be included in the squad for the Copa América – the 30-man squad at the very least. About ten days ago, this did not seem at all possible. While making his desire to be part of Batista’s team clearer than a melted Polar Mint, and insisting he had no personal beef with the manager, Tevez nevertheless took a couple of swipes that did not go down well at all. He hit Checho where it hurts – his twitter account. “If he has a problem, he should tell me face to face rather than banging on about it on twitter,” Carlitos had said.
The following night Checho was still smarting, moping about on the couch in a thick black cloud of Parisienne puchos, crankily challenging the world to find anything about Tevez in his status updates:
Me oh my, I looked back through all my tweets to find what I might have said on a certain matter, and I couldn’t find a thing…
True, but valhella disingenuous of him. He even spoke of how tired he was with the ‘insolence’ and ‘lies’ that were going round.
Batista was still tetchy enough after the Selección local’s 4-2 25 de mayo triumph over ‘Paraguay’. Tevez’s balls had come in for quite a bit of praise from the faithful in Chaco, his football skills being quite by the by. Olé olé olé, Tevez, Tevez, they sang (apparently… pegamequemegusta was eating fried apple treats and drinking champagne – generosa la patria postiza, eh) all round the ground. Checho came as close as he ever had to actually saying something coherent on the matter after the game:
“I understand why the people were calling for Tevez today. He’s a great player […] but in December he said some things on the back of which he probably won’t be at the Copa América. […] You’ve got to think of the group as a whole. At the moment it’s not looking likely.”
Yet by Friday night it was all sorted! Curiously, both Norsemen and Argieballmen share exactly the same tradition concerning the resolution of disputes: two men, circle, face to face, oil, bear fur loinskin, coordinated media presentations, no-one loses face, exchange of (expired) delousing coupons. We’ll let Tevez tell the tale, but we can’t help but wonder if Diego’s accusations of don Julio/Thor’s complicity in the Australia dope scandal (more of which soonish) didn’t weaken previously fortified opposition to Carlitos’s return. After all, though he refuses to go into detail, Tevez clearly states that football had nothing to do with his possible exclusion.
Maybe it was all just a question of miscommunication. Pegamequemegusta doubts it, though: after the chaos of World Cup qualification and Diego’s propensity to exabruptos, there’s been a conscious move towards docility, towards sickly European pacifism – a disgustingly sarmentino approach epitomised by the I believe in Barca mantra. A revolution from above, as we said last week. Thankfully, though, the pueblo have spoken. We don’t care if he doesn’t like the name – el Apache is back!
The interview is from Olé. It was done by Marcelo Sottile. You can read the Spanish here.
- “What’s up, buddy?” Carlitos Tevez gets the move under way.
- Sounds like you’re in good form.
- Yeah, mainly because of the chat with Checho, ’cause we were able to talk man to man, straight up, face to face, as there had been plenty of dodgy rumours doing the rounds. But we were able to sort them out, for the good of the Selección.
- How did it all come about?
- I talked to Tata (Brown) and Chirola (Rodríguez) around noon [on Friday]. I told them what I made of it all. They agreed that I should talk to Checho, too, and so another meeting was organised for that night.
- And what did you talk about?
- There were a couple of things both of us had our doubts about and needed clearing up. As I had said already, I didn’t understand why I was being left out. Checho told me how he saw it, I gave him my version… Like, for example, that it had looked like I hadn’t wanted to play against Brazil. And I insisted that I don’t have any problem with him personally, that every time I spoke out about something it was with the group in mind, not just for my own sake.
- Checho, i’m sure, was quick to point out that you didn’t show up for the Brazil friendly?
- No, but he did mention some things that hadn’t sat too well with him. So I said: ‘Checho, I did this, this and this’ and he said: ‘Grand, now that we’ve had the chance to talk, things are clearer. Before there were things that didn’t add up.’
- Was one of those things the fact that you didn’t play for Argentina but did four days later against Fulham?
- I’ve got the results of the scans, all the medical stuff. They gave me an injection on the Thursday that left me out of training on Friday and Saturday. I remember because I fainted I had the runs so bad, man… Checho knew that I hadn’t played because of injury as City let the Selección know about these things. But he tried to protect me, and i’m grateful for that…
- So the things you talked about were the Brazil friendly and your complaints about the travel arrangements in Japan?
- No, there were plenty more… But what we talked about stays between us. Let’s get things straight, man: all this started because of a lot of Chinese whispers before we actually got to speak to one another. But now we’ve both said our piece and we were able to sort it out.
- You swore you were on board with him?
- I made that especially clear: that he could count on me for anything, whenever and wherever… That i’m always ready to drop anything for the Selección, do whatever he needs. And that i’m ready to play. That he can trust me, that i’m always going to do my best for the Selección.
- What did ye make of the now infamous meeting with Brown and what he said about the [good of] the group?
- We talked about it a good deal. ‘This is what I heard,’ i’d say. ‘This is what I heard,’ he’d say. But always relaxed, no ill will or anything. That’s why I decided to clear things up: ‘Look Checho, I don’t have any beef with you. I’m ready to do whatever I can for the Selección.’ And he said he appreciated it. Sorted.
- He must have been happy that it was you who sought out the meeting?
- Sure, but it’s not about who asked who. It’s not about who’s got a bigger cock. This is just about two men getting together and sorting things out for the good of the squad and the Selección. It’s not about Tevez or Checho… The only thing that matters is the team. And the Copa América.
- You told him you were eager to be called up to the squad?
- It was hardly necessary. I give my all for that jersey. It’s up to the manager whether to put me in the team or not. I’m happy ’cause I got the chance to explain myself and now have the same chance as the rest of my teammates.
- He didn’t give you any hints? The list is coming out on Monday, you know.
- No, we didn’t discuss the squad.
- Was it all just about clearing the air or did you have to apologise, too?
- No, no, it was just a question of tying up loose ends; no apologies. Same for him, eh.
- You didn’t have to apologise for anything?
- No, man. We just had to talk and sort things out. I had nothing to be sorry for. What I did need was the chance to say my piece.
- Was your relationship with Messi discussed?
- Checho knows I get along grand with the little fella, that he’s one of the players I speak with most often.
- And you were happy with the meeting overall?
- I respect him as he’s the manager of the Selección. He always said [my absence] was solely due to footballing reasons. It’s abundantly clear that it was more than that, but that stays between us. It’s all cleared up.
- Were there any other witnesses or is this going to rumble on and on?
- His assistant, Chirola, was there. I’ve always been close to him.
- And how did ye part?
- Just like normal. Sure I don’t have any problem with him.
- So you can tell your mates now that you’re going to be playing at the Copa América?
- I don’t know, that’s up to Checho. Whether i’m included or not, I reckoned now was the moment to talk. I backed him 100%. I think we both deserved the opportunity to straighten things out.
- Are you going on holidays, then, as you said you were?
- I’m not going to ask the manager if I have to stay in Buenos Aires… He’ll weigh it all up.
- Well, just to be sure, don’t book your tickets just yet…
- Haha, yeah, I don’t know, man. I don’t know if i’ll be at the Copa América or not, but Checho and I were due a meeting face to face. I told him he could trust me. Whether things work out afterwards, who knows, but that’s how I am. I’ll be waiting to hear what comes next…