Tevez promises respect, responsibility at Juventus
TURIN, Italy (AP) — Carlos Tevez promised “respect” for his new coach Antonio Conte and “full responsibility” for his actions when he was presented as Juventus’ major offseason acquisition on Thursday.
The Argentina striker transferred from Manchester City, where his scoring talents were often overshadowed by clashes with his manager and off-pitch troubles.
Asked how he can operate under Conte, who is also known for an explosive personality, Tevez responded, “With one word - respect.”
Juventus is spending up to 12 million pounds ($18.5 million) with bonuses for the transfer and signed Tevez to a three-year deal reportedly worth 5.5 million euros ($7.2 million) per season.
“I’m aware of how much the Bianconeri spent to bring me to Turin and I’m assuming full responsibility to represent my new club and wear the No. 10 shirt,” Tevez said at Juventus Stadium.
Tevez’s four-year spell at City will forever be remembered by his refusal to go on as a substitute in a Champions League match at Bayern Munich in September 2011, sparking a major fallout with then-manager Roberto Mancini.
The spat led to Tevez spending six months off the team — three of those on unauthorized leave in Argentina. He was hit in the pocket to the tune of almost 10 million pounds in fines, missed wages and sacrificed loyalty bonuses.
Juventus does not seem worried by Tevez’s recent past and is hoping he becomes the centerpiece of its attack and leads the club to a first Champions League since 1996. Perhaps that’s why club officials didn’t hesitate when Tevez asked for Alessandro Del Piero’s old No. 10 shirt.
“It’s a challenge to me and it doesn’t worry me,” Tevez said. “I already wore Maradona’s shirt at Boca (Juniors). I’m honored to take over from Del Piero.”
Del Piero, the former Juventus captain, left the Bianconeri a year ago after 19 seasons with the club.
Tevez is expected to become Juve’s focus in attack and help the squad in its stated goal of improving its performance in the Champions League. Juventus was eliminated from Europe in the quarterfinals in April by eventual champion Bayern Munich, losing 4-0 on aggregate.
Former Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has also just joined Juventus on a free transfer and could pair with Tevez.
“Conte will decide that,” Tevez said. “But I can offer experience and quality for Juve.”
Juventus CEO Giuseppe Marotta said: “When Tevez told us he wanted to wear that shirt we realized it was time to take it out of the closet. Tevez is a champion with the right mix of humane and professional qualities to take over that number.”
While Marotta was surely aware of how Tevez was banned from driving in April and ordered to carry out 250 hours of community service for driving while his license was suspended and without insurance, he believes the transfer bolsters Juventus’ appeal.
“With victories, Juventus has regained credibility and appeal,” Marotta said. “Now the big champions are asking to come to Juve, and that’s a point of pride for us.”
Tevez said AC Milan called him a couple of times last year.
“But I’m happy to come here. Juventus is the club that wanted me most,” he said. “Italian football is the most difficult and among the most beautiful in the world. I’m motivated and ready. ... I have the obligation and the desire to win Serie A with Juve, and also the Champions League.”
Tevez is joining a squad stocked with members of the Italy national team like Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo.
“Playing with champions like Pirlo is very easy on the pitch and it will be an honor to share the changing room with him and Buffon,” he said.
Tevez added that he left City on good terms following a discussion with its new manager Manuel Pellegrini.
“I spoke with Pellegrini a few weeks ago and I expressed my desire to leave and he understood me,” Tevez said.