A brilliant XI of players left out of Carlos Tevez’s best XI he played with
The list of players Carlos Tevez played with during his illustrious career reads like a Ballon d’Or shortlist from any point over the past 20 years.
Speaking to Radio La Red in 2020, Tevez said: “If I had to put together a farewell match, my team would be: Gianluigi Buffon; Hugo Ibarra, Rio Ferdinand, Gabriel Heinze, Patrice Evra; Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba; Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Wayne Rooney. I’d stay on the bench.”
This got us thinking of the best XI of players he excluded – all of his former Manchester City team-mates, for instance – and we present them to you in a 4-3-3 formation.
GK – Edwin van der Sar
While we haven’t ignored the merits of Joe Hart at his peak, there was only really one option for the goalkeeper’s spot.
Together, Van Der Sar and Tevez won two Premier League titles, the League Cup and the 2008 Champions League trophy. A shoo-in.
RB – Javier Zanetti
Tevez’s line-up contains a sentimental nod to Boca Juniors icon Hugo Ibbara, who made over 200 appearances for the club and won 15 trophies.
This does mean our line-up has a plethora of good right-backs to choose from, from his best mate Gary Neville to Pablo Zabaleta. However, the evergreen Javier Zanetti edges out both men, having played with Tevez for Argentina – we’d love his ability to rack up trophies without ageing a single day after our 18th birthday.
CB – Vincent Kompany
Tevez’s spell at Manchester City wasn’t without controversy, which is perhaps why the striker did not include any City players in his line-up.
This does mean we have the cream of their 2011-12 title winners to choose from, making the selection of Kompany an easy one.
The Belgian previously waxed lyrical about Tevez, telling Sky Sports reporters in 2012 that: “Carlos is recognised by everyone as one of the best strikers in the world. People talk about new signings but having Carlos at his best level, which he wasn’t last season because he was away for most of it, is just like one.”
CB – Nemanja Vidic
There was a time where Vidic was regarded as one of the best defenders in world football, playing with the air of a henchman puffing on a cigarette while casually watching his victim dig their own grave.
Therefore, it makes sense to include the other half of the Vidic-Ferdinand defensive wall in our line-up here.
Vidic told The Athletic: “Tevez wasn’t a great trainer, he rarely moved. He wasn’t a hard worker, yet in the matches he was a devil. He chased opponents and gave them a hard time [and] he didn’t give them time on the ball.
“Tevez was a great technical footballer who scored important goals.”
LB – Giorgio Chiellini
Left-back was a difficult position to fill here – Gael Clichy was good, but something held us back from putting him in this best XI. Likewise, Juan Pablo Sorin was considered for his sensational hair alone.
However, we couldn’t ignore the merits of Giorgio Chiellini. Yes, he might get beaten for pace on occasion. But how many wingers would dare challenge the robust Juventus legend and live to tell the tale?
CDM – Javier Mascherano
It’s important for any team to contain players who would die for the cause. Or, like Mascherano in the 2014 World Cup semi-final, tear their anus denying a last-minute winner.
Included more for his performances for Argentina than his peerless record for West Ham (played seven, lost seven), Mascherano was one of the world football’s premier defensive shields during his peak and even played centre-back for Pep Guardiola’s great Barca team.
CM – Yaya Toure
One of the few to rival Tevez’s ego at City, Toure just about edged out Mark Noble and Nigel Quashie to take a coveted spot in our line-up.
His winner in the 2011 FA Cup final won the club’s first trophy for 35 years, and Toure went a long way to replacing Tevez as City’s talisman.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) May 14, 2020
CM – David Silva
RW – Pablo Aimar
Definitely a cult footballer for those of a certain age, Aimar and Tevez were among the Argentine forwards labelled the next Maradona before Lionel Messi arose and the conversation changed to who would be the next Messi.
LW – Angel Di Maria
In this team of crafty technicians, we need a player who will unselfishly graft for the team while providing moments of quality too.
Having played with both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo during his career, we reckon Di Maria is the perfect man for the role.
ST – Sergio Aguero
There were a host of candidates for this role; Edin Dzeko, Hernan Crespo, Gonzalo Higuain, Dimitar Berbatov, Mario Balotelli to name just a few.
In the end, you couldn’t really make a case for any of them over Aguero. The City legend scored 47 goals over the two seasons he played with Tevez in Manchester while both had the unenviable task of playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi for Argentina.
We reckon this team would win the Champions League, hands down.