Carlos or ‘Carlitos’ Tevez is not just our hero. He is an Argentine footballer who travelled the world scoring or setting up goals, blasting through opposition defences, and making fans happy.
From lowly upbringings in Argentina, he arrived on the football scene at Boca Juniors – the club he supported as a boy – aged just 16 years old, but brimming with both confidence and talent. He was so good that they allowed him to wear the mythical number 10 shirt, which had previously been worn by the legendary Maradona. He played for three seasons in Argentina, winning every national and continental trophy possible, and scoring 26 goals in 75 appearances.
Aged just 20, he became the biggest South-American transfer in history, when Corinthians of Brazil paid $22m for his tenacity, brute strength and winning mentality. He was named their MVP, and scored 25 goals in 38 appearances before finally making the jump to Europe.
West Ham United
Few expected a star like him to go to a small club like West Ham United, but they were one of the few European clubs willing to gamble on the fact that he was part owned by a group of venture capitalists, who also financed the transfer, and the club came highly recommended by fellow Argentine. He only played there for one season before he was snapped by Manchester United.
Tevez got legend status at Manchester United, scoring 19 goals – including a number of important ones – and helping them to win the Premier League. He was a monster in the box, and opposition defences were literally scared of facing him. His mix of brains and brawn made him well suited to the rough and tumble of the Premier League, and he was mesmerising to watch. He left United on bad terms, however, as he transferred across the city for £47m to be part of the Man City Galacticos project and goading the United fans. Some people turned their back on Carlitos, but we still loved him.
Tevez really came to life at Man City, scoring 58 goals in the 113 games and four years he was wearing the light blue shirt at the club, winning the Premier League and FA Cup in the process. But Man City kept on spending bigger and signing more and more strikers in their quest to win the Champions League, and he ended up falling out with the club executives, and seeking a move abroad. No one at City thanks Tevez for the hard work he did there.
Tevez was back to his best, and with a smile on his face, when he was playing for Juventus, and he also had his best scoring record – with 39 goals in 66 games in Italy’s top league, winning the League and the Coppa Italia along the way.
Boca Juniors (2)
Carlitos had always dreamt of returning to the Bombonera stadium and playing for Boca Juniors again at the the end of his career – and his dream came true when he made the switch in a swap-deal in 2015. But this was not a step back when he was old and past it: later in 2015, Tevez was voted the 9th best player in the world in an international FIFA vote. After years of big wages, he was playing for fun – and it showed. He scored every other game.
Tevez was offered the chance to be the best paid footballer in history by Shanghai Shenhua, who offered him a ridiculous salary $41m a year – it’s the sort of offer that you can’t really turn down. Carlos played 16 games for them, and scored 4 goals, before returning to Boca Juniors.
Boca Juniors (3)
And back where it all began. Carlitos helped his home-town club to win another league title. At the time of writing, he had played 480 club games in his career, and scored a whopping 210 goals!