Johannesburg: If Lionel Messi represents the
genius of Argentina, Carlos Tevez embodies its fighting
A relentless warrior who would run through a brick wall
for his team and country, Tevez has captured the hearts of
Argentines after his two goals against Mexico set up a
quarterfinal against Germany.
"I have a hunger for glory so great than I can`t even
imagine not winning the cup," Tevez told Argentine newspaper
Clarin. "It would be very sad, I could not bear to lose on
In many ways, Tevez is the opposite of the clean cut and
mild-mannered Messi, who remains Argentina`s undisputed
superstar despite not scoring any goals yet in the World Cup.
Tevez grew up in a rough Buenos Aires neighborhood known
as "Fort Apache". That`s how he got the nickname "El Apache,"
though he prefers the more endearing "Carlitos" used by
Maradona, who also hails from a modest background in the slums
of the Argentine capital.
The 26-year-old striker has a burn scar stretching down
his neck from his right ear, the result of a scalding accident
when he was a child. In a country obsessed with plastic
surgery, the fact that he has refused to remove it says
something about his character.
And while much has been said about English players
entering the World Cup exhausted by the grueling Premier
League season, the Manchester City striker says he has never
Tevez` second goal against Mexico, a powerful right-foot
shot from 25 meters (yards), was one of the most spectacular
goals of the tournament. However, he admitted that his
disputed first goal should have been ruled offside.
"At first I thought the goal would be disallowed," Tevez
said after the Mexico match. "I know I was in an offside
position ... but as long as they say it was a goal that`s good
enough for me and the team."
Tevez made his debut for Boca Juniors in the Argentine
league at 17. He moved to Brazil to play for Corinthians
before transferring to English club West Ham in 2006.
After a two-year loan spell at Manchester United he moved
to cross-town rival Manchester City last season and scored 23
league goals for his new club.
Tevez is one of five players in the squad remaining from
the 2006 World Cup, when Argentina lost a quarterfinal penalty
shootout to Saturday`s opponent, Germany. It`s a rematch that
Tevez says he`s looking forward to without fear.
"I was more afraid of Mexico than Germany," he told
Clarin. "Because the Mexicans play better football. They took
the ball from us in the first minutes of the first half and at
the start of the second. We would have suffered more if we
hadn`t struck at the right moments."