Carlos Tevez declared this week that he hopes to use his return to Boca Juniors as a springboard to get back in the Argentine national team for the World Cup in Russia.
“I have a few years of football left, being in a World Cup for a player of my age would be something very nice,” Tevez said.
The former Manchester United and Juventus striker – who turns 34 next month – last played for the national side in October 2015. But maybe he will be happy to settle for just playing after a lucrative but ultimately miserable 12 months with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua.
“I want to enjoy these next two years with Boca because it’s the last thing I have left,” he said as he was unveiled by the club before the press after completing his move last week.
“I’m fine. It’s much easier if I’m happy and I’m happy,” Tevez said at his boyhood club’s training ground just outside Buenos Aires.
Boca’s President Daniel Angelici said no money changed hands in bringing Tevez back to his former club. “I want to thank the Chinese club because it has made it easier for Carlos to be here with us. There was no economic compensation, neither from Boca to the Chinese club nor from China to Boca,” he said.
Tevez said: “We went hand in hand with the Chinese club. Boca did not have to put anything in.”
Tevez joined Shenhua in January last year on an estimated 730,000 euros-a-week salary, making him one of the world’s highest-paid players. It may explain his comment at Tuesday’s press conference when he reflected on his return to Boca: “As I won, I also lost.” Tevez scored only four goals in the Chinese championship during an injury-marred season in which he missed the Chinese Cup Final which his team won. “I have no regrets. When I made the decision (to go to China) I took it knowing the consequences,” he said.
Tevez’s main goal now is to win the South American Copa Libertadores club championship with six-time winners Boca. The Buenos Aires club last won it in 2007. “We all know the responsiblity of playing a Libertadores. I think it’s time to try to take that weight off us and win it,” he said.
PRATTO MOVES TO RIVER
On the other side of the city, Argentine striker Lucas Pratto became River Plate’s record signing this week after sealing his move from Brazilian side São Paulo.
Pratto, who was fleetingly a player for River’s arch-rivals Boca, asked to move for “personal reasons” and his transfer was finalised for a price of almost US$12 million.
“I want to win titles with River, I want to win the Libertadores [Cup] and join this team. Later, if I can score goals and get a call up to the national team, better, but for now I only think about this shirt,” Pratto, who made two appearances for Boca, told reporters on Tuesday.
The striker, who has been capped five times, may not find it easy to break back into the national team set-up. Pratto was called up by former national team coach Edgardo Bauza during the World Cup qualifying campaign, yet he failed to make much of an impression.
The Brazilian side was sorry to see him depart. “We didn’t want him to leave because he was one of the pillars of our team,” São Paulo executive director and former Brazil midfielder Rai told reporters this week. Pratto’s signing comes hot on the heels of goalkeeper Franco Armani, who joined River recently from Colombian side Atlético Nacional de Medellín.