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Sports 'My career here is finished' - Tevez's Boca exit a huge loss for Argentine football

22:40  10 june  2021
22:40  10 june  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

Ex-Manchester United & Manchester City star Carlos Tevez leaving Boca Juniors

  Ex-Manchester United & Manchester City star Carlos Tevez leaving Boca Juniors The 37-year-old decided to make use of an option which allowed him to cut short his contract six months early . Carlos Tevez says goodbye "This is not a farewell, but a see you soon," Tevez said to reporters. "I have nothing else to give Boca. "Mentally I am not ready. I didn't even have time to mourn my father, that's how demanding this is. "At this point in time I need to lean on my family and be there for them. "Today I can say that yes, I’m retiring, but maybe in three months I wake up and I want to play again, but not in Boca Juniors again.

After everything Carlos Tevez has achieved in his long, glittering career, both at Boca Juniors and across the world, his last moment as a Xeneize player – and, possibly, as a professional – was one of intense disappointment.

The ex-Manchester United, Manchester City, Juventus and Argentina star saw his penalty smash against Gaston Gomez's crossbar in a shoot-out Boca would ultimately lose to Racing Club last Monday, sending the Buenos Aires giants crashing out of the Copa Liga Profesional.

Four days later, just a few minutes before Racing played eventual winners Colon in the final of that tournament, Carlitos was sitting beside Boca president Jorge Amor Ameal to confirm a bombshell that had already been circulating since that same morning.

Tevez leaves Boca Juniors to rest; no talk of retirement

  Tevez leaves Boca Juniors to rest; no talk of retirement BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Veteran striker and captain Carlos Tevez announced Friday he is leaving Boca Juniors, triggering a clause in his contract that allows him to become a free agent on June 30. “It is not goodbye, it is see you soon,” the 37-year-old Tevez told a news conference at the La Bombonera stadium. He said he'll remain a club fan and “the Carlitos of the people.” He did not talk about retirement. Tevez lifted 11 trophies for Boca, including the Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup in 2003. His last title in the blue and yellow jersey was the Copa Maradona in January. He made his debut with Boca at age 17 in 2001.

"My career in Argentina is finished. I always said the only club I would ever play for [here] is Boca, without a doubt," the star told reporters while on the verge of tears.

"I never thought this moment would arrive, but I'm here to tell you that I won't continue with the club. It's not a goodbye to this shirt but a see you soon because I will always be here, just not as a player.”

Tevez's announcement thus brings an end to a six-year spell at the Bombonera following his return to Argentina from Juventus, punctuated by one disastrous yet lucrative stint in China with Shanghai Shenhua.

He goes out as one of the club's greatest-ever players, alongside the likes of Diego Maradona and Juan Roman Riquelme as the team's biggest idols of the modern era.

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But Friday's departure also means the goal that had been driving him on since coming back in 2015 will remain unfulfilled – that of picking up his second Copa Libertadores title.

Just why Tevez decided to cut short that quest in the middle of the 2021 Copa, with Boca safely in the last 16 (where they will face Atletico Mineiro in August and, should they win potentially go on to meet arch-rivals River Plate yet again in the quarter-finals) has become a matter for extensive speculation.

The demands of the first half of this year, with Boca playing 23 matches in all competitions in the space of just three and a half months, took an enormous toll on the 37-year-old.

The loss in February of Segundo Tevez, the husband of the star's aunt who raised him as his own son after his biological father was killed in a shoot-out while Carlitos was still an infant, due to coronavirus was also a shattering blow for him, and one he admits he still has not had time to process.

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a man with a football ball: Tevez PS © Provided by Sporting News Tevez PS

“I didn't even have time to mourn my father, I was playing the next week, that is not normal,” he confessed. “I need to be with my mother, I need to be a son, I lost my old man three months ago.”

Tevez may not be the same explosive presence as during his heyday in Europe, but he remained captain and a vital part of the Boca set-up.

In 2019-20, his last full season prior to the Covid pandemic, the forward pitched in with 14 goals in 34 games in all competitions, and in his five years at the club from 2015-21, the Xeneize claimed the league title three times and won two further cups, as well as making the Libertadores semis four times in as many attempts and pushing River all the way in the 2018 final.

Could 2021 have been the year Carlitos finally broke that Copa curse? It is impossible to predict the future, but all indications suggest that the current Boca side, functional enough but suffering from a chronic lack of imagination and attacking potency while in possession, will struggle to make much of an impact on the knockout stages.

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Replacing the legend will prove no easy task. Ex-Chelsea striker Franco Di Santo, Huracan's Norberto Briasco and Nicolas Orsini of Lanus, a few of the players mentioned in the usual media whirlwind that surrounds Boca, are decent in their own right, but asking any of them to step into Tevez's shoes is about as daunting a challenge as they come.

One thing is for certain: Tevez is a loss not just to Boca, but to Argentine football as a whole.

a football player on a field: Carlos Tevez Racing Boca Semifinal Copa de la Liga Profesional 2021 © Provided by Sporting News Carlos Tevez Racing Boca Semifinal Copa de la Liga Profesional 2021

In past years, he had been joined by the likes of Diego and Gabriel Milito, Maxi Rodriguez (incredibly, still going strong at 40 at Newell's Old Boys) and, some years earlier, Juan Sebastian Veron in returning to Argentina after brilliant European careers and representing their boyhood idols.

Such cases, though, are becoming rarer and rarer. Sergio Aguero, to take just one example, is now two years older than Carlitos was when he turned his back on Juve, but there was never any indication that the forward seriously considered a move to Independiente, or any other Primera club, over the chance to play for Barcelona this summer.

His new Blaugrana team-mate Lionel Messi likewise moves further and further from Newell's' dream of repatriating their prodigal son, happy in Catalunya and unwilling to uproot his family.

Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of the tendency to sell players as soon as humanly possible, diminishing their link with clubs – Kun, for example, was just 17 when he signed for Atletico Madrid and Messi went to Barca at 13 – or, equally, an indictment of the current state of Argentine football, starved of talent and resources and still reeling from the pandemic.

Either way, one can count the real superstars of the Primera Division, those who have played and succeeded among the world's best, on one hand, and now Tevez has gone that list has just got a little bit shorter.

He may not be universally popular in his home nation, especially among River supporters; but it is impossible not to respect and admire Carlitos for both his brilliance on the field and for the unswerving loyalty he has shown Boca over the years.

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