Carlos Tevez promised “respect” for his new coach Antonio Conte and “full responsibility” for his actions when he was presented as Juventus’ major pre-season acquisition yesterday.
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 are spending up to £12 million with bonuses on the player and signed him to a three-year deal reportedly worth £4.7 m a 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 yesterday at Juventus Stadium.
Tevez’s four-year spell at City will forever be remembered for 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 out of the team – three of those on unauthorised leave in Argentina. He was hit in the pocket to the tune of almost £10m in fines, missed wages and sacrificed loyalty bonuses.
Juventus do not seem worried by Tevez’s recent past and are hoping he becomes the centerpiece of their attack and can lead them 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 honoured to take over from Del Piero.”
Del Piero, the former Juventus captain, left a year ago after 19 seasons with the club.
Tevez is expected to become Juve’s focus in attack and help the squad in their stated goal of improving their performance in the Champions League. Juventus were eliminated in the quarter-finals in April by eventual champions Bayern Munich, losing 4-0 on aggregate.
Former Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has also just joined Juventus on a free transfer and could link up 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 realised 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.”