Does Carlos Tevez want to stay at City?

I was high up in Level 3 of the Colin Bell Stand on Saturday for the 5-0 FA Cup Quarter Final victory over Barnsley and there was no doubting the star of the show.

Not only the scorer of a hat-trick and provider of two more goals, his movement and attitude was also incredible. He was the definition of being here, there, and every…..where. He was of course, Carlos Tevez.

Almost exactly a year to the day he returned from a particularly long round of golf – 6 months long to be exact – and just 48 hours after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while disqualified, the walking Argentine controversy was the personification of ‘man of the match’.

After discovering he was in the starting line up, I was once more excited that I would get to see first-hand his famous ‘work ethic’, and he did not disappoint. Being at the match you can see just how much off-the-ball runs the man makes and just how much effort he puts in. He was everywhere. Defending, tackling, passing, dribbling, shooting and holding the ball with such an ease that you would be forgiven for thinking it was his testimonial and the rest of the players were holding back in admiration.

Yes, Barnsley are a Championship side. But Tevez tore the team apart almost single-handed and made them look nothing like the side that recently had a 9 game unbeaten run.  Whatever his mental state and off-pitch behaviour, his focus and determination whilst on it is second to none.

Nothing fazes him, nothing seems to affect him, and worryingly enough for the over-hyping media, he actually seems to be enjoying his football at City.  Despite the media painting a picture of Tevez angry at the management team on the sideline for ‘taking him off early’ (his minor gripe was actually mild irritation that they took so long to replace him after he waved at the bench twice) – he owes his own rehabilitation as much to Mancini (and his management team) than to his own focus and determination.

Few argued with Mancini last year when he angrily stated that Tevez would never play for the club again after refusing to play against Bayern Munich. But since then Mancini has worked hard to re-integrate Tevez into the squad and repair his relationship with not only the management team, but also the City fans themselves.

As a previous blog suggests, we have learnt the hard way the price of not having faith in our manager, and that lesson was majorly tested last year when Mancini recalled Tevez. Few of us – if we were honest – even thought he’d still be a City player this season.

But now, even the likelihood of Tevez staying a City player beyond his 2014 contract is not a completely ridiculous notion. Tevez – City’s top scorer with 15 goals – is enjoying his football and is arguably the only one of City’s strikers this year that has continued last season’s remarkable consistency up front. Even my (and most other City fans) player of the season Pablo Zabaleta – close to Tevez – has recently said Carlos is “back to his best and 100% committed to the club”.

After Saturday’s game, Tevez himself said of getting through to a Wembley semi-final: “It’s very important because unfortunately we are out of the Champions League and we are a long way behind in the Premier League, so we wanted to go and have a special day for the team and for everybody.”

A special goodbye or a special thank you to the fans (and the management) for keeping faith in him?

On this performance, the chances of him winning at least one more trophy with the club seem very high. Only time will tell, however, to see whether he will win any more with City.

I for one sincerely hope that I’ll be seeing his famous work ethic on display at the City of Manchester Stadium again next season, and beyond.