May 30 – He is one of world football’s best-paid players, reaping the rewards of Chinese football’s import boom, yet Carlos Tevez has told a Spanish broadcaster the sport in the country of his latest employers is 50 years behind Europe.
The Argentine, who had spells at Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, joined Shanghai Shenhua from Bova Juniors on a then world record €38 million ($40 million) salary in December.
However, despite the millions being ploughed into the Chinese game, Tevez has not been impressed.
“I don’t think they will be able to compete with any of the big European sides,” he told Spanish TV station Movistar.
“Even if the best players come, I think the football is very different and the fans treat it in a completely different way as well. I don’t think they will get there in 50 years.”
Tevez made his remarks despite hardly setting Chinese football alight, scoring just once from the penalty spot in four matches before being sidelined by injury.
“They aren’t very physical but I think they are very naive,” he added. “Without meaning to they can do you damage with a kick because they are clumsy.”
However Tevez believes new regulations cracking down on the number of foreign players each team is allowed to sign represents a step in the right direction.
“I think with this new rule that the government have put in, the kids are going to have to start playing and that they will improve a lot.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org