MANCHESTER - Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez denied on Wednesday he had refused to come on as a substitute in their Champions League match against Bayern Munich and said he is ready to play on for the club.
Manager Roberto Mancini told reporters that the Argentine had ignored his instruction to warm up early in the second half of Tuesday's 2-0 defeat in Germany and that Tevez was "finished" while he was manager.
Tevez, who has found controversy follow him from club to club, sought to placate City fans whom he has already angered over the past year with his open desire to leave the club.
"There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood," he said in a statement, according to local media.
"I would like to apologise to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich.
"They understand that when I am on the pitch I have always given my best for the club. In Munich on Tuesday, I had warmed up and was ready to play.
"This is not the right time to get into specific details as to why this did not happen. But I wish to state that I never refused to play. Going forward, I am ready to play when required and to fulfil my obligations."
If Mancini sticks to his guns, Tevez's words will fall on deaf ears at a club whose patience he has tested several times.
Last December he put in a transfer request that the club turned down, while he lodged another at the end of the season citing family reasons.
He made scathing comments about Manchester on an Argentine chat show in June, saying the city "has nothing" and is "very expensive" and that he was "never going back to Manchester, not even on holiday."
'DISGRACE TO FOOTBALL'
He nevertheless returned after a planned move to Brazilian club Corinthians fell through but was stripped of the club captaincy and found himself relegated to the bench as compatriot Sergio Aguero was paired with Edin Dzeko up front.
It is a major fall from grace for the player who won City fans hearts with his work rate and goals after a controversial move across the city from Manchester United in 2009.
His arrival in the blue side of the northwest English city created a storm when City posted a giant 'Welcome to Manchester' billboard following his defection.
It was a sign of things to come and also the latest in a chain of headline-grabbing issues that Tevez has been at the centre of during his time in England.
His first English club West Ham United were fined for breaking rules on third-party agreements regarding player transfers when signing him from Corinthians in 2006.
There followed a protracted legal battle with Sheffield United, who sued West Ham for the cost of relegation saying the Londoners should have faced the drop instead because they should have been given a points deduction as well as the fine.
After two years, the clubs settled out of court. In the meantime, Tevez joined Manchester United in another controversial deal involving more player ownership issues.
He then upset United fans by moving down the road to City.
That transfer provided Tevez with a platform he never had at United to be the team's main goalscorer and it looked like the flow of controversy around him might have been stemmed.
He became popular with City fans and even last season finished joint top scorer in the Premier League despite his wish to leave the club.
What happens next remains to be seen as Mancini said he would be talking to the club's owner Sheikh Mansour, who is likely to be unimpressed by the widespread criticism from the footballing world and British media of the player.
"He is a disgrace to football," former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness, now a television pundit, said. "The owners need to get him as far away as possible because that type of behaviour can spread."comments