Tevez wants to be an idol again
Carlos Tevez claims he is a different man to the one that walked out on Manchester City to return home to Argentina last season, but admits he still has work to do in winning back the club's fans.
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Tevez has re-established himself as a regular in Roberto Mancini's side this season, something that was almost unthinkable last year as he went on unauthorised leave in his homeland for several months, apparently ready to quit the game.
"I knew it wasn't going to be easy to come back," Tevez told the Sunday Times. "I'd left City and you could almost say I'd left through the back door. But it is almost like there are two Tevezes. There's the Tevez before, who had a problem, and there's the Tevez now, who no longer has problems."
Tevez said the key has been getting his family back together. Tevez had requested a transfer from City prior to his walkout when his wife and children returned to Argentina, but now they are all back in England Tevez said he has a different perspective on his football.
"It totally changes everything, your disposition, your humour, just having them close," he said. "If I wasn't selected in the past I'd be in a terrible mood. Now I'm still gutted but I go home, see my daughters, it takes my mind off it and I feel better."
The 29-year-old has 11 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions this season, not quite matching the outstanding return of his pre-walkout days but still a highly valuable part of Roberto Mancini's strikeforce.
Despite that, a sizeable number of City fans still bear a grudge after last season, with Tevez's goals often met with a more muted celebration than those of his team-mates.
Tevez can understand that, but is still working to win them over with his new attitude.
"I knew it would be difficult for the fans to accept me again," he said. "But I hope, little by little, match by match...you give everything for the shirt and win them over through hambre de gloria (hunger for glory). I was once a real idol for these fans, they were so supportive of me. I hope I'm able to win them back."
While his standing with the supporters still needs work, Tevez is adamant he and Mancini are now "fine", their once fiery relationship "a lot calmer now".
"It might be down to maturity," he added. "Maybe, before, I was under a lot more pressure. I was a leader of the team. People would often say, 'If Carlos has a bad day, City have a bad day'. Maybe you just reach a point where there's worse things in life than disappointment in football.
"If I come off the bench and score but I'm not in the next starting line-up I'm a lot more accepting."