TURIN:(Reuters) Juventus spent about 12 million euros ($13.42 million) to sign Carlos Tevez, a fraction of what Real Madrid paid for Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, yet it was the Argentine who called the shots in their Champions League clash on Tuesday.
Tevez, who has been playing some of the best football of his career and is leading Serie A scorer with 20 goals, gave another inspiring performance as he tipped the first leg of the semi-final in Juventus’s favour by helping them to a 2-1 win.
Real’s defence never got to grips with Tevez’s speed, tenacity and close control as the Argentine revelled in the tie, the highest profile match he has played since his move to Juventus at the start of last season.
Often dropping deep to collect the ball in midfield, Tevez then ran at the heart of the Real defence, creating a sense of danger and anticipation among the home fans almost every time.
Tevez’s powerful low drive led to Juve’s opening goal in the ninth minute when Real keeper Iker Casillas could only parry the ball to the feet of Alvaro Morata, who tapped the ball into the net against his old club from close range.
The run which led to the winner summed up Tevez’s qualities.
After being sent clear by Morata, Tevez charged into the Real area and, although he appeared to be running into a corner, he tricked Dani Carvajal into knocking him over, winning a penalty which he smashed home himself for the winner.
The 31-year-old Argentine arrived at Juve under a cloud, worn out after four eventful seasons at Manchester City where he infamously refused to warm up during a Champions League match at Bayern Munich.
He was also shunned by then Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella, who never once selected him during three years in charge amid speculation that he was considered too much of a disruptive influence.
Having missed out on last year’s World Cup in Brazil, Tevez has since been recalled by Sabella’s successor Gerardo Martino.
Tevez reiterated after the match that he felt valued by his team mates and coach Allegri.
“My team mates have shown to me that I’m a leader and I try to do the best I can,” he told television reporters. “I feel important and that helps me play better.”