Well, that didn’t take long. Two months after becoming the highest-paid soccer player in the world, Carlos Tevez might be ready to say “zaijian” to China and “buenos dias” to his hometown Boca Juniors. A report from Argentinian outlet Olé bubbled up this week, stating that El Apache is frustrated with his Chinese excursion and is, in fact, ready to go home. That his agent has already denied this rumor only gives it more credence, and Tevez’s well-documented love of Boca would seem to give him the motivation to cross back over to the Western Hemisphere.
Tevez moved from Boca to China at the end of last year, when Shanghai Shenhua signed him to a world record 41 million euro per year contract. Since signing, Tevez has only made one appearance with the club, and there are reports that he has already fallen out with Shenhua’s Uruguayan manager Gustavo Poyet. Tevez’s agent Adrián Roucco has come out strongly against the Olé report this week, saying that “Tevez will not return from China, I do not know where that came from. I spoke with Tevez and he is not going anywhere.” There is also a financial concern before the Argentinian striker can return to his homeland; due to a clause in his contract, he will reportedly have to repay the club 6.5 million euros as compensation if he decides to leave.
El Apache’s story highlights the possible downside to moving east in order to cash in on the current uptick of money being spent in China. Surely, some players have acclimated better than others; Oscar, the Brazilian midfielder formerly of Chelsea, appears to be settling into a starring role at Shanghai SIPG, while former Shakhtar Donetsk attacker Alex Teixeira is thriving at Jiangsu Suning. But Tevez’s reported reluctance to stay in Shanghai should serve as a warning for other Latino players looking to the east for a payday. While the promise of making millions more than ever before is alluring, the culture shock and lack of competition can wear on even the most prepared futbolero.