Early Impressions of Carlos Tevez at Juventus
"Fuerte Apache" read the t-shirt, in homage to the barrio of Buenos Aires that he originates from.
It marked a sensational start for the Argentine, who has now struck three times in as many games for the Old Lady since his move from Manchester City.
The first thing you notice about Carlitos in a Bianconeri shirt is that beaming smile, which was missing for large spells during his time in the Premier League.
This is a player who is happy, finally, revelling in his role at an elite club who are willing to play him in his preferred position—leading the line of attack.
The Tevez of old has returned to our screens, galloping across the pitch, chasing lost causes, but now willing to utilise an array of talent around him, too.
Lippi on Tevez "He's someone who shares many characteristics with this Juve, the anger, the determination, the malice to win & the class."— Tarek Khatib (@ADP1113) September 5, 2013
His best spell in England was at Manchester City, who attempted to build the side around him, at first.
That season in 2009 when Tevez was the star, which suited him for a while, until it became clear that the likes of Craig Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips were not going to be adequate support to drag City to the top of European football.
City invested plenty, but when Roberto Mancini drafted in top attacking talents over the next seasons in the form of Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero, the added competition failed to compliment his role in the side and, instead, rivalled his importance.
Without the necessity to be that difference maker time and again, combined with a series of off-the-field problems, Mancini began to rotate him out of the starting line-up, which was the beginning of the end for Tevez.
Make no mistake about it, Juve have plenty of attacking talent too, but they are strikers who are all there to aid the 29-year-old's success in Turin, not strive for the same starring role.
What's most impressive isn't Tevez' 3 goals in 3 games. It's how he has seamlessly transitioned into Conte's tactical setup this quick.— l'architetto (@juventus_fc_fan) August 31, 2013
This is a Tevez who has seemingly lost weight and is now determined to prove something to us all.
City's willingness to let the player go may have hurt his pride, while Argentina are plodding along just nicely without him, so Tevez now has an opportunity to demonstrate that he remains one of the game's top strikers.
There is another, less important, challenge awaiting Tevez on the Peninsula, with the arrival of his compatriot Gonzalo Higuain—now prominently featuring for the national team—at Juve's rivals Napoli, which will make for a fascinating comparison as the World Cup draws nearer, perhaps forcing his way back into the conversation for an international re-call.
If a side that has come off back-to-back Serie A triumphs can make inroads into the Champions League, Tevez will immediately be pointed to as the missing ingredient from last season.
Antonio Conte is bringing out the best of Tevez, too, not only asking him to run the channels and be the man to reclaim possession and bring others into play.
At Juve, we see a Tevez who is prepared to link in and around the penalty area, with short, sharp combinations with midfielders Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and inevitably Claudio Marchisio, once he returns from injury.
It is early days, but Tevez has already provided enough evidence that he is on the brink of breaking out into the form of his career.
Having been humbled by being used so sparingly at City over the past year and being snubbed altogether by the Albiceleste, Juve are reaping the rewards of that re-found fire in Tevez's belly.
It remains to be seen, though, whether El Apache can keep it burning strongly.
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