Carlos Tevez says Juventus has reinvigorated his playing career and provided him with the professional and personal satisfaction he was seeking after ending a seven-year stay in the Premier League.
The 30-year-old, who has netted Serie A 13 goals so far this campaign following a summer switch from Manchester City, believes the black and white stripes and Antonio Conte’s managerial style represent the ideal combination for him to continue to flourish in Italy.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Italia, Tevez began: “Continuing my professional career wasn’t something that really interested me, I wanted to spend time with my family and be relaxed. But when the call came from Juventus, I didn’t need much time to think about it, I just wanted to sign.
“Conte’s a champion. He always wants to win and does all he can to have everything under control before the game. He prepares for matches like nobody else and we’re united by the fact that neither of us likes losing.”
Handed the number 10 on his arrival in Turin, questions were raised as to whether Tevez would feel comfortable with the responsibilities and expectations that come with wearing such an iconic shirt.
Yet the Argentine claims his natural combative nature on the field of play means that leading by example was only ever going to be the only option.
“I’ve always said, ever since my first day here, that I would have to respect the shirt and all the fine players to have worn it. But when I put the Juve shirt on, I almost don’t know what number I’ve got on my back. What I do know is that I need to fight for the symbol of Juventus and give my all on the pitch for the club.”
The customary drive and determination exhibited by Tevez ever since he first burst onto the scene as a youngster at Boca Juniors was on full display on Thursday, when his virtuoso performance and two assists enabled the Bianconeri to gain a solid footing in their Round of 32 double-header with Trabzonspor.
And providing a positive contribution remains the striker’s main priority as he aims to help the team complete the job they started by producing an accomplished performance in Turkey.
“We’re not relaxed, the tie’s still open and we’ll keep working to put in a great performance at their place. Not finding the target isn’t a burden for me. I’m happy the team won 2-0 and that’s the most important thing as far as I’m concerned, not scoring.”
Standing in between the Bianconeri and Thursday’s second leg in Trabzon is this weekend’s highly anticipated Derby della Mole against in-form inter-city rivals Torino.
Tevez is no stranger to the passionate nature of the fixture, after almost seeing his first Turin derby experience, September’s 1-0 win at the Stadio Olimpico, cut short on 35 minutes following Ciro Immobile’s robust challenge.
But he insists he has no axe to grind with the Torino forward, explaining that his decision to upload a photo of his bruised ankle on Twitter was done purely in response to complaints of a Juventus refereeing bias by Granata fans.
“I’ve got nothing against him. He’s a great player and I always speak well of my counterparts at other clubs. I uploaded the photo simply because the Torino fans were complaining about the refereeing. I disagree with those who think refereeing mistakes always fall in favour of Juventus – that’s why I put the photo up.”