Chinese fans round on ‘rat’ Carlos Tevez after holiday barb

A Shenhua spokesman told AFP on January 5, 2018 that the club was in discussions with the former Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus striker to end his contract. (AFP)
Updated 17 January 2018
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Chinese fans round on ‘rat’ Carlos Tevez after holiday barb

SHANGHAI: Furious Chinese football fans branded Carlos Tevez shameless and “a rat” on Wednesday after the Argentine striker described his ill-fated spell at Shanghai Shenhua as a “holiday for seven months.”
The 33-year-old struggled for form and fitness during a disastrous stint in China, where he was among the best-paid players in the world on a reported weekly salary of 730,000 euros.
He brought his Chinese nightmare to a premature end when he returned to Boca Juniors earlier this month and on Monday joked with Argentine television channel TyC Sports: “It’s fine because I was on holiday for seven months.”
That prompted an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media, with fans of a number of Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs rounding on the man often disparagingly labelled “very homesick boy” in the Asian country.
“Football hooligan, please get your arse out and never return to China again. Scum,” wrote one on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
“I wonder if there is anyone more shameless than him,” added another.
Tevez missed half of Shenhua’s CSL games injured, out of form or out of shape, and when he did play he failed to justify his hefty pay cheque, scoring just four league goals.
As well as hitting out at Tevez, whose previous clubs include Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, Chinese fans also said Shenhua should take same of the blame.
“After looking at Tevez’s interview my heart as a Chinese football fan is again deeply hurt,” wrote another on Weibo.
“While we are chasing Tevez like a rat crossing the street, China’s (football) managers should also do some good self-reflection.”
In contrast, Tevez has been warmly welcomed back for his third stint at Boca and has a supporter in Argentine great Diego Maradona.
“He filled Santa’s sack with dollars and came back to Boca,” Maradona was quoted as saying by Argentine TV earlier this month.
Shenhua, who are keen to draw a line under the Tevez fiasco, declined to comment.


Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

Updated 20 May 2018
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Saudi Arabia step up their World Cup preparations by flying to Switzerland for training camp

  • Squad of 28 to be based in Zurich
  • Friendlies on the horizon against Italy and Peru

Juan Antonio Pizzi has taken a 28-man squad to Zurich for the final stage of the Green Falcons’ World Cup preparations.
The party flew out of Jeddah late last night and landed in Switzerland early this morning. There they will be joined by Fahad Al-Muwallad and Salem Al-Dawsari who will fly in from Spain after playing for Levante and Villarreal on Saturday night.
The three-week training camp in the Swiss resort town of Bad Ragaz gives Pizzi the chance to get stuck into some intense tactical and physical work with his players and decide which five players to leave out of his squad. He must whittle down his list down to 23 by June 4, which gives the players get two final chances to stake their claim for a seat on the plane in friendlies against Italy on May 28 and Peru on June 3. By the time they play Germany in Leverkusen on June 8, Pizzi will have named his party for the assignment in Russia.
Pizzi is clearly much nearer knowing who he will take as he has only made minor changes to the squad he named for the recent wins against Greece and Algeria.
Al-Ittihad goalkeeper Assaf Al-Qarni replaces his club teammate Fawaz Al-Qarni as the fourth stopper in the squad, as Pizzi looks settled on retaining Al-Ahli duo Yasser Al-Mosaileem and Mohammed Al-Owais in addition to Al-Hilal’s Abdullah Al-Mayouf. One of those four will fail to make the cut as no team takes four goalkeepers to the World Cup.
There were no changes in the backline where the former Chile boss is opting for harmony. Eight of the nine defenders called up ply their trade at Al-Hilal or Al-Ahli, while Al-Nassr’s Omar Hawsawi rounds off the selection. One defender might have to make way and Al-Hilal teammates Mohammad Jahfali and Ali Al-Bulayhi could well find themselves vying for one spot on the plane to Moscow.
Abdullah Otayf and Taisir Al-Jassim look to be firm favorites to make the starting XI in the base of midfield, while the third central spot is up for grabs. Hussein Al-Moqahwi has regularly featured in that position, but Salman Al-Faraj’s return from a long injury saw him start both friendlies in the Spain training camp. Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari could emerge as the more conservative midfield enforcer against stronger sides.
The center of the pitch is where the most intense battle of positions will take place. As many as three midfielders could be left behind come June 4. Ibrahim Ghaleb has already been left out and he may be joined by Al-Shabab duo Hattan Bahebri and Abdulla Al-Khaibari. One of Mohammad Kanno and Mohammed Al Kuwaikbi could be the last man to be dropped in two weeks’ time.
Up front, Harun Kamara, a surprise call-up for the recent friendlies, failed to retain his spot in the squad so Mohannad Assiri and Mohammed Al-Sahlawi will battle it out for the sole striker position.

Squad
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais, Yasser Al-Mosaileem (Al-Ahli); Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Al-Hilal); Assaf Al-Qarni (Al-Ittihad)
Defenders: Motaz Hawsawi, Saeed Al-Muwallad, Mansour Al-Harbi (Al-Ahli); Osama Hawsawi, Mohammed Jahfali, Ali Al-Bulayhi, Mohammed Al-Burayk, Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al-Hilal); Omar Hawsawi (Al-Nassr).
Midfielders: Abdullah Al-Khaibari, Hattan Bahebri (Al-Shabab); Abdulmalik Al-Khaibari, Abdulla Otayf, Salman Al-Faraj, Mohammed Kanno, Nawaf Al-Abid (Al-Hilal); Taisir Al-Jassim, Hussein Al-Moqahwi (Al-Ahli); Mohammed Al-Kuwaikbi (Al-Ettifaq); Salem Al-Dawsari (Villarreal); Fahad Al-Muwallad (Levante); Yahya Al-Shehri (Leganes)
Forwards: Mohammed Al-Sahlawi (Al-Nassr); Mohannad Assiri (Al-Ahli)