A look at Carlos TEVEZ's past conflicts with the National Team.
Argentina has had many polarizing figures who have put on the sky blue and white jersey. It always seems around a World Cup year that there is one player which the fans have a divided opinion on. In 2006, to a certain extent, it was Juan Seba VERON. His feud with Juan Pablo SORIN (who Jose PEKERMAN made team captain) almost certainly destroyed any chances VERON had of making the squad for that World Cup. Come 2010, while Lionel MESSI was the name on the pitch, Juan RIQUELME was the other name who was making noise among Argentina fans. In 2013, it's Carlos TEVEZ.
For the longest time, TEVEZ has had the love and approval of most of the Argentinian public. But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for el Apache. The very first incident between Carlos TEVEZ and Argentina came in November of 2003 at the time of the U20 World Cup. Carlos TEVEZ was recovering from an injury and while the National Team included him in the squad, TEVEZ ultimately played zero matches that tournament and decided to take part in Boca's Intercontinental Cup (now Club World Cup) match against AC Milan instead.
On November 27, 2003 (the same day that the U20 World Cup was starting), Boca Juniors won the Apertura at Racing Club's stadium. Carlos TEVEZ was on the pitch and chanted something less than friendly towards the National Team. While I'll try to translate it into English, those who understand Spanish will understand the real meaning behind it. "La selección, la selección, se va a la puta que lo parió..." In very rough translation, it would mean something like "Argentina, Argentina, go to the whore that gave birth to you."
But, it wasn't always all doom and gloom. TEVEZ took part in his first tournament with Argentina the next year at the 2004 Copa America, scoring twice. He also played, starred and won gold with Argentina that same summer at the 2004 Olympics. During the build up to the 2010 World Cup, TEVEZ had a disastrous World Cup Qualifiers. One goal, one missed penalty kick and a red card are what most people think of when they think of TEVEZ during that time.
Once Argentina was secured of a spot at the World Cup, MARADONA opted for a starting pair of Lionel MESSI and Gonzalo HIGUAIN up front. In the friendly match against Germany, where Argentina won 1-0, it was those two up front. There wasn't a doubt that TEVEZ would be part of the team and going to South Africa, but there were a lot of doubts concerning his starting position on the team. Once the World Cup started, MARADONA (who has a well known soft spot for TEVEZ), included him in his starting line-up for Argentina's first two matches against Nigeria and South Korea. TEVEZ played very well, particularly in the second match of the group stage. In the Round of 16, MARADONA opted to go with the same front three and while TEVEZ scored twice, it was clear Argentina couldn't go with the same line-up against Germany. MARADONA was faced with a very difficult decision. Does he drop TEVEZ and revert back to the 4-4-2 which had served him so well in the friendly and gave him more defensive stability or does he keep TEVEZ in the starting eleven and go for it all? We all know what happened. I'm not blaming the loss and the elimination against Germany on TEVEZ, far from it, but he always seems to be in the middle of controversy with Argentina.
With MARADONA gone, BATISTA came in. The match against Brazil in Doha was a big turning point for TEVEZ in his National Team career. We're all fairly familiar with the story. TEVEZ states he's not completely fit and would rather not play the match. He drops out of the squad only to play for Manchester City that weekend. This didn't go well with BATISTA who opted to stop calling Carlitos to the team. But the Copa America was being held in Argentina that summer. The media started lobbying for TEVEZ and Sergio BATISTA called-him up to the team. Of course the story is a bit more complicated and it doesn't help that in retrospect, BATISTA had no idea what he was doing from the beginning. We all know the story. The match against Uruguay goes to penalty kicks and Carlos TEVEZ is the only one to miss and Argentina goes out to the eventual champions. That match against Uruguay was Carlos TEVEZ's last for the Argentina National Team.
His less than stellar goalscoring stats for Argentina are often brought up. TEVEZ has scored 13 goals for Argentina in 62 matches. Maxi RODRIGUEZ, a midfielder, has scored 13 goals in 47 matches. That's 15 less matches than TEVEZ. He has since stated that he doesn't miss playing for Argentina and that his time is over. However, it is a World Cup year and there are players who are lobbying for his inclusion. Also, when TEVEZ speaks, the media in Argentina listens.
I know this article probably sounds like pure hatred on my part. But there are a lot of positives which TEVEZ has brought to the team which cannot be documented in numbers. He was one of Argentina's best players at the last World Cup. His performance against South Korea sparked the team. Whenever he had lost a ball, he was the first to try and get it back. When he came on as a substitute at the 2006 World Cup against Mexico, he ran the Mexicans ragged. TEVEZ is a pitbull and will put in the work. However, for different reasons, his career with Argentina hasn't been too good. A red card, missed penalty kicks and deciding not to play matches will remain in many people's minds.
However, there's no disputing his talent. TEVEZ is a world class player and would walk into any National Team in the world. He could greatly help Argentina, there is no doubt about it. Bringing on PALACIO as a substitute doesn't put the same amount of fear into the oppositions eyes as bringing on someone like TEVEZ. What does put fear into Argentina though is the bagage which comes with him. Lionel MESSI, who is undoubtedly the star of the team, has never played well with TEVEZ. It's not TEVEZ's fault nor is it MESSI's. They are just too similar and don't have the same chemistry as MESSI does with AGUERO or HIGUAIN. TEVEZ likes to be the star of the team, the one which everyone looks to. With Argentina, under Alejandro SABELLA, that wouldn't be the case and one has to think that it could be one of the reasons why TEVEZ has not played under SABELLA. While TEVEZ has said that he doesn't miss playing for Argentina, I don't think even he would turn down the chance to play at a World Cup.