Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Does Judge Judy Speak Portuguese?

The last couple of days haven't registered a lot of good news for Brazilian club Corinthians. First, a flat start to the current Campeonato Brasileirao season that at this moment sees them occupying 17th place in the 20-team league. Last Wednesday, new coach Emerson Leao stripped the captaincy from Argentine forward Carlos Tevez saying that no one could understand his Portuguese. Then three days ago, the team released Marcelinho Carioca following an "altercation" with Argentine midfielder Javier Mascherano.

After scoring the only goal in a home win against Botafogo on Sunday, Tevez declared that he had played his last game for Corinthians. The news out of Brazil yesterday was that Leao was not going to let his two Argentines fly to Europe and meet up with their national squad for it's friendly against Brazil on September 3rd in London. Tevez's reaction was to board a plane and fly home to Argentina, without giving notice to anyone at the club. The rumor is that Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Milan are all awaiting word to start the bidding for the twenty-two year old striker.

Tevez, nicknamed El Apache in Argentina and Carlitos in Brazil, joined Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires at the age of thirteen. Playing his first professional match with Boca on October 21, 2001 against Talleres de Cordoba, he would go on to win every major club trophy in South America. After being named Argentine Footballer of the Year in 2003 and 2004, he was sold to Corinthians in December of 2004. The deal was the biggest ever in South American football, $20M. This was made possible because of the club's deal with Media Sports Investment (MSI).

Corinthians signed a deal in 2004 with the international investment group that grants MSI a large degree of control over the club. This came in exchange for large piles of cash that were made available to the club to purchase players like Tevez and Mascherano ($15M), as well as big name coaches like Daniel Passarella. While the investment in players saw the club win it's fourth Campeonato Brasileirao in December of 2005, the club has been mired at the foot of the table in 2006, as well as having been knocked out of the Copa Libertadores by River Plate in round of 16 last May.

What this all means for Tevez is anybody's guess. Though it should be noted that rumors persist that Russian money-bags himself, Roman Abramovich, owns a 15% stake in MSI. The question is:

A) Does Chelsea have first dibs on Tevez (at a cut-rate price no doubt)?
B) Is this kid stuck at Corinthians until a club is willing to pay his reportedly $68M buy-out?

-If the answer is B, what club is going to come anywhere near wanting to shell out that kind of money?

Stay tuned.

Tevez request puts United on red alert [Fox Sports]
Tevez faces uncertain future at Corinthians [Fox Sports]


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