City's Copa America: Tevez has point to prove
- 29 June 2011 11:11
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Carlos Tevez has a point to prove in Argentina's bid for the Copa America - not to his adoring public in the stands, but to his sceptical manager Sergio Batista.
Batista, a devotee of Barcelona's style, sees Lionel Messi rather than people's champion Tevez as his linchpin, and only recently launched an astonishing attack on the prolific Blues man.
Argentina's boss declared: "I liked the Tevez of a few years ago who was capable of dribbling past two defenders and scoring, or making someone else score with an incredible assist.
"Now he's become the player of the people by doing other things, like running and tackling, and perhaps he's forgotten the main aspect of his game.
"The mentality of the Argentine fan is wrong: they applaud when someone runs and tackles, even if he then loses the ball.
That's something we must change, otherwise we'll be at risk
Tevez was dropped by Batista last year over a no-show for a friendly against arch-rivals Brazil in Qatar, which Argentina won 1-0 with a goal by Barcelona star Messi.
Coach and player have had a heart-to-heart and Tevez - the first Argentine to finish top goalscorer in England - is back in the fold, albeit after an outcry from the fans over his exile.
Tevez was a second-half substitute in the warm-up game against Albania, scoring the fourth goal in added time as Batista opted for a 4-3-3 formation with Messi a roving centre-forward.
Favourites Argentina open the tournament against Group A rivals Bolivia in La Plata on Friday. Whether Tevez gets the chance to play a major role in their progress remains to be seen.