In the latest episode of his turbulent career in England, Argentina striker Carlos Tevez claimed on Wednesday that he was "misunderstood" and did not refuse to play for Manchester City in a Champions League game that could spell the end of his time at the Premier League club.
City manager Roberto Mancini said Tevez's career at the club was over for refusing to come off the substitutes' bench in the second half of the 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Germany on Tuesday night. (Read: Bayern Muncih beat Manchester City)
"With me, he's finished," Mancini said. (Read: Mancini wants Tevez out after he refuses to play)
Tevez issued a statement Tuesday insisting it was all a misunderstanding.
"I would like to apologize to all Manchester City fans, with whom I have always had a strong relationship, for any misunderstanding that occurred in Munich," Tevez said. "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."
Mancini wanted to bring Tevez on for Samir Nasri with about 30 minutes left and City already trailing 2-0.
"There was some confusion on the bench and I believe my position may have been misunderstood," Tevez said. "Going forward I am ready to play when required and to fulfill my obligations."
Mancini said he plans to speak with City chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak in the coming days to discuss Tevez's future.
"He refused to play," the Italian said. "I cannot accept this behavior from him. I decide the substitutions, not Carlos."
The souring in relations has echoes of Tevez's final days at Manchester United when he complained of a lack of playing time before bolting to rival City two years ago.
His career has remained no less volatile at City, which has invested more than $1 billion on players since the 2008 takeover by Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Mansour.
The 27-year-old Tevez captained City last season and lifted the FA Cup in May, the club's first major trophy since 1976. The Wembley success came after Tevez asked to leave the club in January.
This summer, Tevez publicly pushed for a transfer to be closer to his family in Argentina.
But no club met City's reported 50-million pound ($79 million) fee. He has started just one Premier League game of six so far this season, playing 61 minutes in the Sept. 10 victory over Wigan.
"Carlos didn't play at the start of the season because he didn't do a preseason for three years," Mancini said. "He is not ready to play."
Tevez's act of insubordination in Munich was met with a sense of disapproval at the English players' union.
"I think you are going to see a lot more instances of top players getting upset," Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor said. "They will either think they don't deserve to come off, or not be happy at being asked to retrieve a situation.
"But it is part and parcel of being in a large squad. You have to be professional."
Tevez's arrival in England was mired in controversy that led to a string of bitter legal cases and rules changes on third-party ownership.
When he joined West Ham from Brazilian club Corinthians in 2006, his contract was owned by a third company, Media Sports Investments.
West Ham was fined nearly $11 million, but not docked points, and Tevez scored the goal in the 2007 season's final game that saved the club from relegation - at the expense of Sheffield United.
An independent tribunal eventually ruled that Sheffield United was entitled to compensation and the clubs reached an out-of-court settlement.
Tevez joined Manchester United on a two-year loan deal from West Ham in the 2007 offseason, but left after two years despite winning the Champions League and Premier League to become Manchester City's highest-paid player.