Argentine legend Ossie Ardiles claims that Carlos Tevez will leave Manchester United at the end of the season if he is not guaranteed first-team football.
Tevez’s future at Old Trafford has been in doubt ever since the £30.75m arrival of Dimitar Berbatov in the summer and speaking to ESPNsoccernet ahead of the launch of ESPN Classic’s From The Pampas To The Lane (a documentary charting Ardiles’ own move from Argentina to England), the Spurs legend believes that his compatriot will move on if he does not get more playing time.
”Before the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov, Tevez was an influential member of the United side,” he said. ”Now it looks like he is third choice behind Berbatov and Wayne Rooney and because of that he has suffered.
”He has played very well when he has had the chance, but he is not happy when he does not play. What happens in the future will be decided by what happens between now and the end of the season.
”If he is not a regular in the first-team then he will want to move and there won’t be a shortage of clubs wanting him.”
Asked if he thought Tevez would like a move to Real Madrid, who have been linked with a £25m bid for the on-loan Argentine in the summer, Ardiles said: ”Yes certainly. I know that he is happy in Manchester, but if he doesn’t play then he will be very unhappy and will look for a move. I am certain of that.”
It is easy for Ardiles to empathise with former West Ham United star Tevez, as both were young men when they swapped South American football for the English game.
Ardiles, a World Cup winner, was one of the first foreign players to arrive in England when he signed for Tottenham along with fellow countryman Ricky Villa in the summer of 1978 and he made over 200 appearances for the club in a ten-year spell that was interrupted by the outbreak of the Falklands War in 1982.
”The Falklands War was devastating for us. For me, it took a long time to recover from such a blow,” he said. ”Just before the war everything was going so well at Tottenham. We were winning every game and we had the best team in 1981/82, the best team I played in at the club, and Ricky was really playing up to his potential.
”It was a pleasure to play at the club, but suddenly the war came and it completely destroyed my world. The country where I was born was fighting the country that had adopted me and to be stuck in the middle was awful.”
Ardiles famously left White Hart Lane for much of the 1982/83 season to join Paris St Germain on loan as the war broke out, but he looks back on his time in England with fondness as he returned to help Tottenham to a UEFA Cup victory in 1984.
”It was an exciting time for me and Ricky,” he said. ”We lived next to each other and Ricky was like a brother to me. It was difficult yes, but we went everywhere together and of course we were always talking to our families.
”Communication was the big problem at the beginning as we didn’t speak English, but it became easier and easier and we became very much part of the English culture.
”The world is completely globalised now. Communication is a lot easier, but when we came over, to read an Argentine paper meant we had to read it one week later. It was much more difficult at the time.”