It’s been three years since Carlos Tevez last suited up in an Argentina kit, but the 30-year-old is finally set to return to international duty for the World Cup runners-up.
The last time Tevez played for his nation, he came off the bench in a Copa America semifinal on Argentine soil and missed the deciding penalty kick. After that, international manager Alejandro Sabella refused to select the People’s Player even once, instead preferring Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, and Gonzalo Higuain up front for three years.
Sabella left his position in charge of the international side following this summer’s World Cup, however, being replaced by former Barcelona boss Gerardo Martino. Martino has decided to bring the Juventus striker back to the national side, announcing him as a member of the roster for an upcoming friendly against Portugal at Tevez’s old home ground of Old Trafford.
That match up with Portugal was already tantalizing for pitting Messi against Ronaldo once more, and the return of Tevez to international duty adds another layer of intrigue. The striker will be making a case for continued service including the opportunity to avenge his 2011 gaffe at next year’s Copa America as well as contributing to the team’s qualifying for a 2018 World Cup in which they are the second favorite already, with odds of 7/2 according to sportsbooks listed at gambling.com.
Tevez has already served his country in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but was excluded from the run to the final in Brazil. It seems highly unlikely that the striker will be able to secure a spot on the roster for Russia, as he will be 34, three years older than all three strikers that played for Albicelestes this summer, so qualifying matches now appear to be his best opportunity at contributing to a much sought after World Cup victory.
How Tevez will fit in with an already elite and established side design has yet to be seen, but it will be interesting to watch. Regardless of how it plays out in the long run, it should bring renewed interest from fans to matches that don’t normally draw much, as well as allow Martino to experiment with his new team in a low-risk way.
In two weeks Tevez returns to the fold with the eyes of Argentina upon him. How he performs will go a long way in determining the international future of the player and possibly even his country.