When Carlos Tevez famously had his spat with Mancini during the crucial Champions League fixture with Bayern Munich last year, the press and people outside the club, only saw an arrogant, selfish, mercenary individual who by his behaviour cost his team-mates and manager dear. There was an internal investigation and Tevez went on a ‘reported` un-sanctioned long break. But what of the causes of this behaviour and the way Tevez has been greeted back by his team-mates with open arms.
There has been no reporting of what Tevez did in Argentina other than play golf and no deal made of how accepting his team mates have been welcoming him back into the fold. No examination of what caused City`s Captain and former player of the year to behave as he did and no study of the causes of his other erratic behaviour.
In a sport where athletes train to the peak of their abilities and where support to help them achieve this is paramount, there is no support offered to players to help with mental issues as there are with the physical. Yet in a high pressure and testosterone riddled environment, where many subjects are taboo, emotional and cognitive support is almost non-existent.
In only the last 24 months, two famous names from Football in Gary Speed and Thomas Enke have taken their own lives whilst reportedly suffering from depression and I purport that it is a distinct possibility that Tevez has also suffered from this illness too. He has struggled with yo-yoing weight, his behaviour has been at times erratic and he grew up in a tough neighbourhood where showing signs of weakness was simply not done.
City allowed Tevez a leave of absence, I believe to recuperate and get his mind set back to how it should be. The fact that a very emotional Mancini has welcomed back a player he said would never play for him again gives us a clue. The fact that the club has made no mention of its stance on the player and merely taken him back after he felt right to play. Irrespective of the red top reporting of this incident which seems to be ingrained with an anti-City slant, I believe Tevez should be applauded.
Our first true superstar of the new era was clearly suffering even before his Munich spat and did not seem able to gain satisfaction wherever he was, another sign of depression. Yet, despite the fan repercussions he could have faced, the break in Argentina seems to have made him stronger and more determined. He came back to the club and faced the music. He came back and showed willing to make up for his failings demonstrating bravery and for the first time in his career a willingness to work for the team as demonstrated by his performances in recent weeks.
I hope football learns from its mistakes and whilst racism and bigotry is being stamped out of the game, players need to be given the same level of emotional support as they do physical without having to ask. Whether Tevez was indeed suffering from depression as I purport or not, I believe careers could be lengthened and many lives made more positive within the game if this were the case.