|Tevez wants to leave, the manager and fans are keen to say goodbye, but still he remains [GALLO/GETTY]|
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini softened his stance towards Carlos Tevez on Friday, saying he did not know whether the Argentine would play for the club again despite previously stating the striker was “finished”.
Questions relating to the former City captain, who faces disciplinary proceedings for alleged breaches of contract, were once again off limits at Mancini’s weekly news conference.
Reporters were warned not to question Mancini on Tevez but he was still asked whether he had a future at the club.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” said the Italian.
“Sorry, but I think it is better to talk about (Saturday’s Premier League opponents) Aston Villa.”
An attempt to clarify whether Tevez, who returned to training on his own this week having been suspended by the club for two weeks, was available for selection was also batted away.
Mancini had said Tevez refused to come on as a second-half substitute in the September 27 Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich. Tevez responded by saying he was not asked to come on but to warm up which he did not want to do because he felt he had already warmed up sufficiently.
The club issued a statement on Wednesday saying it had reached a stage in its investigation of the events to conclude that Tevez had a case to answer of alleged breaches of contract and that there would be a hearing “shortly”.
Mancini was keen to focus on a busy week for City, who host Villa on Saturday before a vital Champions League game at home to Villarreal on Tuesday followed by a trip across town for the derby at Manchester United next weekend.
“Now I think it is important we focus on the next week, we have three important games,” he said.
Tevez’s fellow Argentina forward Sergio Aguero is doubtful for the Villa game with a groin injury but should be fit for Villarreal, while striker Mario Balotelli has recovered from a back problem and is available.
Not over the hill yet
From a Manchester villain to a Manchester hero, Ryan Giggs wants to extend his career at Manchester United until at least the end of next season, the 37-year-old has said.
Giggs, speaking to the Italian soccer website calciomercato.com just before Prince Albert of Monaco gave him the Golden Foot 2011 Award, said he felt fit enough to continue for at least another year after his current one-year deal expires next June.
Asked if he was thinking of playing on, he replied: “Yes, I think so. Nothing interests me but playing with this team.
“After Christmas I will go to Sir Alex Ferguson’s office and we will talk about my contract.”
|In contrast to Tevez, Giggs has always been the model professional on the pitch [GALLO/GETTY]|
Asked what his relationship with his manager was like, Giggs replied: “I have a great rapport with him.
Giggs, who made his league debut for United against Everton in March 1991, has played more matches for the club than anyone else – 884 – including 618 in the league after overtaking Bobby Charlton’s old record of 606 league appearances last season.
He is the most decorated player in English soccer having won 12 league titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups and the Champions League twice during his 21-year career at Old Trafford.
He has made a fine start to this season scoring twice in eight matches in all competitions and, although his days of sprinting up and down the wing have passed, he now operates as a central playmaker or forward with considerable influence.
Man United are are level on 19 points with Man City at the top of the table, although they are ahead of their neighbours on goal difference.