Legendary Liverpool striker Ian Rush yesterday blasted Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez's disappearing act and demanded more club loyalty from modern day footballers, in the wake of the Argentine's latest controversy at Eastlands.
Ian Rush interacts with municipal school kids in Mumbai yesterday.
Tevez, who was already fined two weeks' wages for refusing to warm-up during a Champions League game against Bayern Munich in September, now faces a further 600,000 - pound fine for skipping training and returning to Argentina without the club's permission. According to reports, Sheikh Mansour-owned City will sack the 27-year-old former Manchester United star if he doesn't turn up for a meeting with the club scheduled for Monday.
"Tevez has messed with the wrong club. City's owners are extremely rich and powerful. "He should just apologise to the club and get back to playing football," Rush told MiD DAY, at the sidelines of the Standard Chartered 'Go Forward' football clinic for municipal school children in Mumbai yesterday.
Rush, who devoted 16 years of his career to Liverpool, making 660 appearances between 1980 and 1996 (spent the 1987-88 season with Juventus), wishes players showed more loyalty and compassion to their clubs. "Loyalty is what makes Steven (Gerrard) and Jamie (Carragher) so special. It's sad we don't see a lot of it nowadays," added Liverpool's all-time top-scorer (346 goals).
The Welshman, who is also the top-scorer for his country with 28 international goals, called for better handling of players like Tevez. "Man management is the key in such situations. At United, Tevez would never have behaved like this. Even at Liverpool, players know if they don't behave themselves they'll be out. Roberto Mancini is still new in England. If he wins the league this season, he'll earn that kind of respect from the players."
Having said that, Rush quickly pointed out that winning the Premier League won't be easy for City. "Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and United will all be looking to knock them off the top. They have the talent, but what is important is how they deal with pressure." Mancini's team are currently five points clear of their second-placed United in the standings and look favourites to win the title, especially after last month's 6-1 win at Old Trafford.
When asked if any of the 40 shortlisted children attending the four-month long football clinic would be taken to train in Liverpool, Rush replied: "Yes, of course. If they have the talent they will get the opportunity. These kids need better guidance, and more importantly better pitches to play on."