We wrote this a few years back. Since the hazy days of MUNDIAL Issue 003, where this article first appeared, Tevez has since gone on to severely break someone’s leg, taken a $41 million trip to Shanghai, and is now back with his beloved Boca. The mad bastard…
Hunter S. Thompson once answered, ‘Buy the ticket, take the ride’, when questioned about his buccaneering approach to life. With his spectacular goals, outrageous sulks and propensity for high drama, Carlos Tevez definitely bought the ticket, and his impulsive amateurism in a world of arch-professionalism continues to provide fans with a rollercoaster of a journey unparalleled in the modern game…
Carlos Tevez has never struggled to make an impression wherever he has played. Over the course of a relatively nomadic career, taking in the top-flight leagues of his native Argentina, Brazil, England and Italy, before returning to his homeland in the summer of 2015, he has proven to be a natural at ingratiating himself with an ever-changing gallery of die-hards and fans with differing allegiances and passions.
Regardless of the backdrop—or his disinterest in learning other languages—Tevez has always shown a knack for charming his public, forever managing to find some common ground between himself and the locals of the La Boca district of Buenos Aires, São Paulo, the bubble-loving East End of London, both sides of the Manchester divide and the black and white half of Turin. Rugged, resourceful, skilful and strong, the source of his appeal is obvious. He is a heroically busy player and an easily relatable champion, especially for supporters desperate to identify “one of their own” out on the field.
He embodies a similar passion and fighting spirit to those who fork out so much to follow their team, even if his own devotion to any cause is ultimately transient and temporary. Whether it’s the working men and women, fresh off a week of gruelling shift work or physical labour, or the middle-class enthusiasts who can tend to fetishise the kind of lung-busting toil absent from their white-collar professions, Tevez is an easy figure to endear to.
It’s what makes the goodwill he can quickly generate feel so authentic. Here is a footballer on unimaginable wages. One who has minimal real connections to his immediate environment exhibiting the kind of appreciation for a hard game’s graft that arms him with so much tub-thumping gravitas.
No matter where he roams, he runs for longer than most, fights harder than the majority seem to care for and slips into playing the role of talismanic figurehead quicker than even the most fluid, aural histories passing through the stands can keep track of. And yet the emotional legacy that usually follows in his wake is one full of highly-charged contradictions: adulation, bitterness, betrayal, love and wonder; old school romance and modern day, mercenary realities.
Whether it’s swapping United for City, or walking out when his talents were needed most, Tevez is somehow always able to engineer an excuse or find an escape to ultimately save himself some face and make a quick getaway. He can drive a wedge between a fanbase and their managerial messiah, and turn the unforgivable into the unforgettable. Yet still, it doesn’t seem entirely accurate to label his motivations as cynical.
It’s more the result of instinct and impulse—a kind of wandering restlessness—indicative of a short attention span and a long-term plan still feeling for a final goal. There seems little concern for the medium-term consequences or the bruised affections he leaves behind, but the outcome of these decisions often seem a bit too long-winded and emotional to be as ruthless and calculated as they first appear. Tevez is more guilty of rapid-fire bond-building than being the slave to the careless, nihilistic urges of a true, sell-sword mercenary. After all, flipping between feeling hot and cold isn’t the sign of some cold-hearted professional, but that of an amateur, too often engaging their heart rather than their head.
He is a fittingly complex character for an era of anti-hero-driven box sets and dark, gritty reboots of once bright, camp, technicolour comic book franchises up on the big screen. Categorising Tevez as protagonist or antagonist is no mean feat given his meandering motives and the polarising effect he can have on those jilted or jackknifed, rather than cajoled, by his populist cult of personality.
Tevez is the personification of a national myth inherent within the football culture and identity of Argentina. He is the pibe—a short, skilful runt of a footballer born of the streets who overcomes far more powerful and imposing foes through the virtue of his greater heart, wit and guile. At 5’8”, Tevez may not be the smallest player around which this most sacred of archetypes has manifested itself—Diego Maradona was 5’5” while Messi is 5’6” and a bit—but few have been such a perfect expression of its folksy, urbanised ideal out on the pitch.
The community he was born into, Fuerte Apache, not only provided him with his nickname, El Apache, but a backstory worthy of the legend he epitomises. It remains one of the most dangerous and deprived parts of Buenos Aires, created by the country’s former military junta ahead of the 1978 World Cup to hide away the poor and undesirables of their capital city from the prying eyes of the world’s visiting media. Almost from the point of completion, its densely populated tower blocks set the scene for shoot-outs, drug deals, gangs, and low prospects for those wishing to live a legitimate life. Football, as is so often the case, was one of the few ways out.
And it was in this environment that Tevez not only honed his technique and skills but also began to muster up the incredible aggression, hunger and ferocity that are such recognisable parts of his game. The clever, improvisational nous of the street footballer became weaponised by the keen, sharpening edge of his sheer will to win and appetite for a scrap.
Club Atletico All Boys were the first club to cotton on to this potent mix. Tevez played there between the ages of eight and eleven before he made his way across town to join Boca Juniors. Not only would this early move prove to be the first wrinkle of controversy to mark his young playing career, but the beginnings of a life spent behind an alter ego.
Having been christened Carlos Alberto Martínez, his parents changed his surname to that of his maternal family, Tevez, in order to sidestep a contractual conflict that might have otherwise prevented him from leaving for the top-tier team with whom he would make his professional debut, aged just 16.
It was also during his childhood years that he received the unmistakable facial scarring that runs down the right side of his head and jaw and onto his chest, caused by a pot of boiling water. He was offered plastic surgery by Boca to cover his disfiguration, but as legend has it, Tevez refused. Even at such a young age, this tough-as-nails street kid from a ghetto built to beautify a fascist football tournament believed that keeping his scars would help to build his character. It’s also believed that he heard about the recovery time that would have been required and decided against it due to the amount of football he would have missed.
He will have had few complaints then about the amount of games he played after turning pro. During his first stint with Boca, Tevez notched up 110 games in all competitions over the course of four seasons, scoring 38 goals and winning the Copa Libertadores and the now defunct Intercontinental Cup in 2003 along the way.
For Argentina, he led the line in their 2003 South American U-20 Championship win and their gold medal victory in the 2004 Olympic Games, during which Tevez scored eight goals in six games including a memorable hat-trick against Costa Rica in the quarterfinals and the winner in the final against Paraguay. However, he is yet to follow these early victories up with any success at senior level; a veteran member of a golden generation yet to deliver for La Albiceleste.
Such success at club level with Boca saw him named as South American Footballer of the Year in both 2003 and 2004. In the club’s Libertadores-winning campaign, he was labelled as the competition’s most valuable player, scoring a goal in the away leg of their final clash with Santos of Brazil as Tevez quickly built up a platform as his country’s latest heir to Maradona’s throne. He was bullish, brilliant, and so often thrived amidst the thick of close combat in the final third where hatchet men tried to stop him through tricks, brutality or appeals to the referee. Few successfully managed to contain him.
Yet there was still some shade to this most sunny of highlight reels. Tevez was partly blamed by some for Boca failing to win another Copa Libertadores title in 2004 after he was sent off in the semifinals. His dismissal came moments after helping to force extra time through a late equaliser away from home against their cross-city rivals, River Plate.
With the ball in the back of the net, the forward sought to wind up the home crowd with a chicken dance celebration, to mock their moniker of “the Hens”. The match official failed to see the funny side and flashed a red card. South America’s greatest player was suspended for the first leg of the final. Without their talisman, Boca were held to a 0–0 draw at home and were then beaten 2–0 on penalties in the decider away to Once Caldas of Colombia.
On July 13, 2015, around nine-and-a-half years since he left the club, he finally made his long-awaited return to Boca. A crowd of over 50,000 people greeted him and chanted his name. Tevez’s presentation is said to have been the third most attended event of its kind in football history after Ronaldo’s arrival at Real Madrid and Napoli’s welcoming party for Maradona in 1984.
Up in the executive box, El Diego himself lauded Tevez’s choice to come back to the club that made him, hanging a huge home-made banner from the balcony of his suite. In his scion’s first game Maradona brought a second banner to the stadium, praising the forward for turning down greater wage packets on offer in Europe to cross the ocean and lose himself in the romance of it all.
As he stepped out onto the pitch for his unveiling, with his daughter bundled up in his arms, the homecoming king was almost lost in the instant cloud of streamers and glitter thrown up by his adoring public. The intensity of their roars, and the sheer amount of confetti that rained down made for an occasion that was practically imperceptible from most camera angles. Human eyes and ears could not capture or do justice to the scene of jubilant chaos unfolding within the arena. In the midst of this crescendo of noise and shimmering bits of celebratory shrapnel, it wasn’t clear whether the Boca faithful had gathered to honour a returning son or to expose themselves to the world’s largest flash-bang grenade.
Tevez’s departure from Boca in January 2005 was a similarly disorientating event, as he made his way from Argentina’s Premiera Division to Corinthians of Brazil’s Serie A, the biggest team in the most elite league of his home country’s fiercest rivals. It was then the largest transfer deal in South American football history.
Being one of the most popular and well-recognised figureheads of Argentine football at the time, the transition had its kinks from the very start. Fans were sceptical, but Tevez only needed a few matches to win them over.
His graft and stomach for the fight soon turned their suspicions to adoration. He put everything he had into the shirt, building a connection with his new fans that was so great that by the end of his first season some in the stands began to arrive wearing Argentina shirts: an act of sacrilege made good by the barnstorming brilliance of the man from Fuerte Apache.
He scored a hat-trick in their momentous 7–1 thrashing of Santos, the biggest goal difference in modern times in the Brazilian Serie A, and a victory that put Corinthians six points ahead in the 2005 title race that they eventually won. For his efforts, Tevez was named the season’s best player, the first non-Brazilian winner of the award since 1976, and completed a hat-trick of South American Footballer of the Year awards to boot.
Tevez’s time in Brazil would also play an important part in deciding how his future career outside of South America would be shaped and lead. Part of the reason why Corinthians were able to purchase him from Boca in such a landmark deal was the takeover of the club by Media Sports Investments—a London-based investment fund headed by one Kia Joorabchian. It was their money that brought Tevez to Brazil, and it was they and their partners who ultimately owned him and his registration.
After the success of 2005, things began to turn sour for Tevez. Corinthians struggled for form and the details of MSI’s rather exotic ownership arrangements heaped on unwanted scrutiny and pressure from inside and out of the support base. Their season soon collapsed as they tumbled into the bottom four and protests broke out in the stands. Chants of encouragement turned to rage and Tevez’s reaction to the histrionics was played to perfection.
Falling from the status of hero to villain, he physically fought with his teammates and shushed the fans after scoring during a match against one of the league’s lesser sides. Their response was suitably dramatic, surrounding and attacking his car as he attempted to leave the stadium following the final whistle. During a press conference called over the whole fiasco, Tevez stormed out, telling the supporters who had been so ready to cross the Argentina-Brazil divide for him that if they wanted him to leave, he’d be off.
Citing concerns for the safety of his family, the striker made his intentions known, refused to play for the club and headed off to Europe to find fame and fortune alongside his fellow countryman and MSI asset, Javier Mascherano.
He placed his faith in Joorabchian, an ambitious and highly capable businessman whose interests and involvement in the direction of these two players seemed to go far beyond the expected proclivities of a man who doesn’t even identify himself as a football agent.
He obviously showed enough for two of the biggest stars in South American football to trust in his plan to temporarily deposit them at a West Ham; a club who would spend the 2006/07 season toiling at the wrong end of the Premier League table. At the time, various pundits and reporters suggested that more competitive sides had turned down the offer of taking Tevez and Mascherano on board themselves due to concerns over the presence of third-party owners in any deal.
The truth behind the paperwork and the registrations of the players would surface later on—and become a story in its own right—but initially, all eyes were on the surreal sight of two high-calibre internationals joining Nigel Quashie and a 40-year-old Teddy Sheringham in a fight against relegation.
Tevez threw himself into his football in East London, just as he had with Boca and Corinthians, and was ravenous in how he went about tackling the new, high-tempo challenges of English football.
In his first game for the club, a 1–1 draw with Aston Villa at Upton Park in September 2006, he flung himself at Thomas Sørensen as the keeper collected the loose ball. After completely missing the target of his wild header, and crashing down to the ground and startling the 6’5” Danish international, he dusted himself off and leapt back up to his feet to resume his rapacious patrolling of the opposition’s backline.
He looked as eager to chase down the most unlikely of missed causes as he was to score a goal, but while his effort levels when on the pitch could rarely be faulted, neither Tevez nor Mascherano met expectations. Just as they failed to find some purchase themselves, the team as a whole it slid down the table and manager Alan Pardew lost his job. As the background involvement of MSI added to the woes of Corinthians during their under-performing season in 2006, an investigation by the Premier League into the nature of West Ham’s ownership of their new star players hardly helped matters. A run of seven games without a goal left the Hammers on the precipice in 17th place.
Though he arrived at the club in September 2006, Tevez didn’t score his first league goal until March 2007, just a month after the departure of Mascherano to Liverpool. He’d hardly proven himself to be a model professional either, walking out on his team-mates after being substituted in November against Sheffield United, following which the rest of the squad decided he would have to donate half a week’s salary to charity and train in a Brazil shirt. While he would run through walls for them on the pitch, he couldn’t bring himself to do what his followers in São Paulo had done for him as a forfeit—citing his national pride as a red line he would not cross.
His marauding style of play kept fans hopeful that his ability would eventually turn it all around and in the final ten league games of the season he fired home seven goals and had a hand in many more, to save West Ham and be crowned Hammer of of the Year.
His first strike in a West Ham shirt has become an article of myth and legend in its own right. Away against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane, Tevez was fouled just outside the home side’s penalty area. With five minutes to go before half-time, and after having set up Mark Noble with his head to score the opener, the free kick was Tevez’s to take: he lined it up, picked his spot and shaped it in, curving over and around a helpless Paul Robinson.
It was a moment of pure ecstasy and release as the fans finally had the end product substance they needed to truly justify their love of the Argentine, who in turn exploded with joy, ripping off his shirt and diving into the crowd. He disappeared in the scrum, carried further into the crowd by weeping men, drunk on a rush of adrenaline, serotonin, and the foggy, vulnerable half-life of pre-match boozing giving way to delicate tear ducts and pure delight.
Spurs may have gone on to win the game 4–3, but the result hardly mattered in the long-term. The player that the Hammers had been promised had arrived, and the future didn’t look so dark and doomed. At worst, they’d go down swinging with their lovable, cartoonish rabble-rouser leading the charge.
But West Ham survived at the expense of Sheffield United—the club against whom Tevez had thrown a tantrum—who soon provided their own outburst as the Premier League ruled that transfer rules had been breached. The Irons pleaded guilty over their MSI-brokered deals to bring the Argentines to Upton Park and were handed a record £5.5 million fine.
Their Yorkshire-based relegation rivals were still demoted to the second tier, much to the chagrin of their manager, fans and owners who had to watch on as the Hammers were cleared to play their ill-gotten forward for the remainder of the season. He would go on to score the goal that secured their top-flight status at the Blades’ expense, in the final game of the season, in the rain against Manchester United, a dramatic 1–0 win.
Much of the punditocracy and English football establishment were left livid, but Tevez just took it all in his stride. His sense of dramatic timing and theatrical pacing was again on point, having waited for the controversy to brew over the course of the season before beginning to thrive the very moment where his return to form would generate the most outrage. Sheffield United felt that they were denied justice and are yet to return to England’s top division.
His match-winning performance on the last day of the season proved to be his final game as Hammer, and the club whom Tevez defeated on the final day of the season soon made their intentions clear. The Argentine became a Manchester United player on a two-year loan from the owners of his registration; a move circumventing the legal wrangling that had caused so much furore.
By the end of his first season in the North-West, he would be an English and European champion. Somehow perhaps he knew such glories were soon to be his as he almost strolled into Old Trafford, exuding the kind of cocksure confidence that the Stretford End feed off from their favourite attackers while retaining the hard-bitten work rate that endeared him to all of his previous clubs. It was an intoxicating mixture.
Who cared if he looked a bit too similar to Wayne Rooney, or that rumours abounded regarding the player’s motivations, and those of Joorabchian, almost soon as he had put pen to paper? There was a palpable buzz over his capture that seemed to overwhelm any early doubters, and after spending a year getting up to speed with English football in the capital, this time there was no delay between his debut and his first goal; an appearance off the bench against Portsmouth in August and the opener in a 2–0 win over Chelsea in September. He would go on to score 14 in 34 in the league and four in 12 in the Champions League on the way to a domestic and European double, but his place within the first team never quite appeared as assured as some supporters expected it to be.
Perhaps because of the similarities with Rooney, Tevez was to a large extent a rotational player. He enjoyed plenty of game time, but he never looked likely to become the centrepiece of the side’s attack and didn’t always deliver when he was expected to play as one.
Behind the scenes, there was discontent about a perceived lack of value towards his abilities from the management, underlined by a failure to cough up the cash to pay off MSI and offer Tevez a permanent deal. As tensions became public, following an outburst by the forward in May 2009, some factions within the United support base made their feelings known on match day, calling out to their manager from the stands in a late-season Manchester derby against City.
“Fergie, Fergie sign him up” they chanted until the end of the season when some fans even tried to sing over Sir Alex Ferguson’s traditional end-of-season speech in the centre-circle of Old Trafford after the final home game of the season. The Scot later admitted that the club had begun to make moves to sign Tevez on a permanent basis, but instead, weeks later, he would be confirmed as a Manchester City player in one of the greatest heel turns in modern English football history.
The season before, on what was his first return to Upton Park after leaving in the summer of 2007, his previous supporters sang out to their new, visiting foe, “There’s only one Carlos Tevez”. He reciprocated, as he would in future matches against the Irons, with a crossed-arm Hammers gesture back to the home fans. Yet when he came face-to-face with his formerly adoring public at Old Trafford in a City shirt, the reaction could not have been more different. Tevez looked visibly shocked by the sheer hatred, but what did he expect? Perhaps more from United fans, possibly—a bit of understanding, perhaps. Maybe he knew exactly what he was doing.
“Welcome To Manchester” read the huge, blue-tinted advertising board planted at the top of Deansgate, on the border between Salford and the Borough of Trafford, bang in the middle of prime United territory and at the technical city limits of Manchester proper. His then-manager Mark Hughes admitted it was a move of provocation designed to intentionally annoy the club who had dubbed their cross-town rivals as “noisy neighbours”.
It was a static take on a pre-fight hype promo, ratcheting up the emotions and intensity of the situation in a more vitriolic manner than even Kevin Keegan’s rant on SKY Sports in 1996. Most United fans soon joined the party started by their namesakes in Sheffield and found a new hate figure. City, meanwhile, couldn’t believe their luck. In one fell swoop, they’d managed to puncture the puffed-up bravado of their greatest rivals while finally signing the marquee player they’d be looking (and failing) to find ever since the arrival of Robinho.
At City, Tevez found a club backed by supporters who had gone without for so long in terms of success, glamour, and glory and who were eager to pour plenty of gratitude and adulation his way for gracing their squad. He was a beacon, a statement and a match-winner all rolled into one, and even after gaining his windfall of a contract guaranteed by the riches of Sheikh Mansour, he still fought harder and played with more passion than the majority of players in the league. “Fergie, Fergie sign him up” became a popular, ironic favourite in the Eastlands songbook.
However, City still lost to United 4–3 in the league and 4–3 in the League Cup on aggregate, with late goals by Michael Owen and Rooney, respectively, undoing Tevez’s good work to put the Blues in front. Come the summer of 2010, the Argentine had been named the club’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year, and captaincy soon followed under new manager Roberto Mancini. Yet by December of that year, a written transfer request had been submitted, with the club describing his actions as “nonsensical” as they sought legal advice should their star player decide to retire. By Christmas, he had withdrawn his request, but there was plenty more to come.
With peace restored, Tevez continued to perform for City on his way to becoming the second fastest player to reach 50 goals in the club’s history as well as captaining the team to their first major piece of silverware in 34 years, the 2011 FA Cup. City also qualified for the Champions League for the first time, a competition that set the stage for the defining events of his career in England.
It was a midweek night in Munich on September 27, 2011, and Tevez found himself on the bench in the Allianz Arena, Munich’s colossal spaceship of a stadium. With Mancini’s side down by two goals to the hosts, the Italian gestured to his substitute striker to get warmed up. It remains unclear whose story contains more truth but whatever the details and context, Tevez didn’t leave his seat, and the switch was never made. Once again, condemnation came quick, and the forward reverted to being English football’s favourite persona non grata.
He escaped back to his homeland and his family, and communication faltered between club and player. He preoccupied himself with golf and performing with Piola Vago, the music group he formed with his brother Diego in Fuerte Apache, before finally returning to Manchester. City suspended him for a maximum of two weeks, but his time away from the team stretched on for far longer, and he soon found himself officially placed on “gardening leave”, one of the odder recent additions to the lexicon of the modern football fan.
Yet he eventually did return, and just as how the controversy around his contract with West Ham appeared to bring out the best in the Apache, so too did the adversity of stepping back out onto the pitch in a country he barely hid his distaste for. There he found Sergio Agüero, his heir apparent as City’s new, talismanic frontman, and with Mancini’s side reportedly out of the title race after a major slump in results, Tevez set about turning things on their head once more.
Their combination, and the ease at which he reconvened on-field relationships with his attacking teammates, became the tag-team that helped get a grip of the run-in and claw back the 12-point gap that United had built up as their neighbours drifted. In his first match back, he set up Samir Nasri to score the winner in a 2–1 victory over Chelsea. He later scored a hat-trick and made another assist in the 6–1 mauling of Norwich City, and was well involved in the final day drama of City’s title-winning triumph at home against QPR.
Even when he finished as the Premier League’s joint top scorer with 20 goals the season before, it was an award that he had to share with Dimitar Berbatov, the languidly stylish centre forward who had been purchased during his second season at United and eventually replaced him. Ongoing feuds and grudges seemed to permeate almost every moment of glory he garnered during his time in England, and after failing to make much of an impression on City’s lacklustre title defence, he moved on again, this time to Italy where a resurgent Juventus were in need of a certain kind of striker.
His time in Serie A was disappointingly straight-laced. In Turin, he found another club on the up, as he had at City, but one with a touch more stability and self-confidence, given that its past successes were recent history rather than decades old. As he led the line, he found himself backed by a balanced squad of young talents such as Paul Pogba, wizened veterans like Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon and a strong stock of players, like him, hitting or entering their peak years.
It was a situation that fit him to perfection. The timing was right, the ethos correct and the style of play exactly in line with his own: in Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio, Stephan Lichensteiner and others he found himself surrounded by a similar bustle of industry and intensity. Together they won back-to-back titles, a Coppa Italia and even reached a Champions League Final, with Tevez named as Juventus’ Player of the Year twice in his two seasons spent in Italy.
It could be that a more mature, professional and controlled environment benefitted him after years spent between teams with so many distractions and soap operas in Argentina, Brazil and the Premier League. Tevez himself has credited Juve for reigniting his own passion for the game, adding focus to his football again and helping him to shed the pounds to become a leaner, more efficient modern player. But it couldn’t last. While offers came in from across Europe to try and recruit his services for another year at least, it was time to go back to Boca.
La Bombonera is once again his home. He will likely retire under the blue and gold banners draped from its stands and go on to other things outside of the game once his playing days are up. Tevez the coach or Tevez the manager seems like an unlikely proposition outside of the kind of the semi-honorary roles that have made up Maradona’s own, cameo-ridden career in the technical area.
Who would want to watch Carlitos wither away on the sidelines, anyway? Football at its best is all about moments, memories, and emotions—it’s these individual, micro-doses of genius and drama that make the winning of silverware so electric. Basic bean-counting and trophy cabinet stock-checking are for dickheads and bores. Tevez, more than most, was a player who seemed to live off this energy and bring it to the surface whenever he went into battles.
Yet he cannot be considered just as some pure-hearted liberator, fighting against the po-faced corruptions of modern football. Throughout his career, the very vitality that his football has been soaked in and powered by has been too much to contain and process purely through the game, spilling out and overflowing into unedifying episodes and tantrums that seem far removed from the grounded realities of his bustling style of play. His commitment to the shirt, the colours, and the fans while on the pitch has never really translated to any ever-lasting loyalty to a contract or a cause.
It’s contradictions such as these that make Tevez so thrilling, both as a footballer and as a character. No one wants straightforward, comprehensible heroes any more: The world is a complicated, terrifying mess and it seems reductive for anyone to pin their hopes on a personality any simpler than the life and times they exist within.
‘Tevez the Everyman’ is a fictionalised reality. He is a route to escapism within a sport that is now built around offering people a parallel universe to disappear into, full of hype, dramatic tension and false jeopardy. The Premier League and its various broadcasters-cum-promoters increasingly align the sport and their coverage as a rival to the series and seasons of high-gloss, top-end TV drama. According to their advertisers, it is Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, and The Wire combined and made up as it goes along by its actors on pristine grass, which is why Tevez was always so convincing and able to win himself fans wherever he went.
More so than any other player, he is an anti-hero fit for the contradictory realities of our box set generation, and we can only hope that future spin-offs and remakes are in the pipeline.
A version of this article first appeared in MUNDIAL Issue 003 which is now long gone. But there’s more of this kind of thing in our quarterly magazine, which you can get sent to your door here. If you’re really into us, and fancy getting it sent to your door throughout the year, then be a subscriber. Subscribers get special treatment. Be a subscriber.