“I have nothing more to give,” said Carlos Tevez in June last year, lowering the blinds. The Argentine idol, intercontinental champion with Boca Juniors, captain of England’s Manchester City and top scorer of Italy’s Juventus, said goodbye to football at the age of 37 and retired to his private life. His name was last in the media in December last year, when an Argentine court forced him to pay special contributions for refusing to pay taxes on large fortunes. The Apache, as they always told him in memory of the rough neighborhood he grew up in, has sparked controversy again this week, now for his return to football. Starting this Tuesday, he will become Rosario Central’s technical director, an appointment in which his political sympathies, business connections and an alleged lack of technical preparation have drawn criticism in the country’s most passionate sport.
The last football schism experienced by the city of Rosario, the third largest in Argentina, was caused by another Boca idol. In 1993, Diego Armando Maradona played seven games at Newell’s before retiring and put one of national football’s angriest fans on the world map. If it’s clear that Boca Juniors vs. River Plate is the epitome of the Argentine football classic, the Newell’s-Central rivalry is the oldest… and the fiercest. Tevez has returned Rosario’s gaze but his situation is the opposite: Central lost again at the local tournament last night and with the spirit of relegation lurking after two years with the category change frozen in national football, the side need a miracle to put out their fires.
Boca has been Central’s executioner the last two times he stroked a championship. He won on penalties in 2018, but the 2015 final is still making waves rogue Rosarinas. Boca sang champions against Central with a goal for offside and a penalty kick outside the box. The arbitration fiasco was so obvious that even the captain xenize He opened on national television. “There was a lot of celebration. But when it’s cold you don’t like winning a league like that,” said Tevez, who had just left European football at the best moment of his career to return to the team that idolized him.
The sporting grudge isn’t the only wall that needs to come down to win over Central’s fans. Boca’s idol, who won an Intercontinental against Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan and climbed into the fans’ pocket at just 19, is also linked to a name that blows bubbles on half the national consciousness: Mauricio Macri. A great friend of Tevez, the former President of Argentina catapulted his political career with the success of Boca at the beginning of the century and The Apache, the humble boy who made himself and won everything was his trademark. The macrismo that Tevez never hides isn’t just dividing fans rogue who identify their team with the popular neighborhood and are left-wing with those who don’t. It also worries those who see the former president’s influence as a different way of running the club.
Part of the entourage that runs the Rosario team had agreed that Pablo vitamin Sánchez, a historian of the team, takes over the technical direction. In the midst of negotiations, a businessman made a bid on behalf of Tevez and Central’s other leadership wing within days. The opportunity came from representative Christian Bragarnik, who, according to specialist media, is “the owner of half Argentine football”. Bragarnik offered Tevez to the team and they signed a contract five days later. His landing as a member of one of the largest portfolios of coaches and players in local football has angered some political voices at the club. “It means Central’s disappearance as a club, its transformation into a business platform and the progress of money laundering,” said current Central Executive Vice President and former Vice Presidential nominee Carlos Del Frade.
According to complaints within the coaches’ union, Tevez has also failed to complete the required technical director courses, so his signature will depend on another registered coach: current sports minister in Buenos Aires’ Macrista government, Carlos Lock out Retegui, award-winning field hockey coach and good friend of Tevez. Retegui, who has no football experience, has yet to resign from political office to join his friend, but his presence with Tevez in the defeat of Central this Monday night leaves no doubt that he will join him on the adventure.
A generation of 30-somethings who grew up with the most wins for Boca Juniors in their history now sees another of their idols trying to succeed off the bench. Tevez joins a list of names like Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Martín Palermo or Fernando Gago, who sat on the bench after his triumph on the pitch. None have had great results so far.
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