Argentine footballer Carlos Tevez claims Chinese football is 50 years behind the world's top leagues

The former Manchester United and Juventus forward criticised the standard of football in China after he was asked to lose weight by his new manager

Carlos Tevez
Carlos Tevez claims Chinese football is 50 years behind the world's top leagues Reuters

Carlos Tevez has claimed Chinese football is 50 years behind the world's top leagues and described Chinese footballers as "not very good".

Tevez has hit back at suggestions from Shanghai Shenhua's chairman that he is unfit to play, describing Chinese players as "not naturally skilled" and doubting whether they will be able to compete with the best nations "even in 50 years".

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The former Argentina striker signed for Shanghai Shenhua in January on a contract which made him the highest-paid player in the world on a reported £650,000 per week but has endured an unhappy time on the field, according to the Mirror.

And he told French broadcaster SFR Sport: "In South America and Europe, players learn to play football when they're kids, but not here. So technically they are not very good.

"Their football is very different. The fans treat it very differently as well. And I don't think they are going to get to the same heights, not even in 50 years," said Tevez, as per Sky Sports.

Tevez has scored just three goals in 13 games with his team struggling in the league, and last week was labelled "overweight" by new coach Wu Jingui. That led the club's chairman, Wu Xiaohui, to admit the 33-year-old had "not met their expectations", according to the Guardian.

Wu Jingui replaced former Brighton & Hove Albion and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who resigned last week.

Wu Xiaohui, the club's chairman, said earlier this week: "Our intention was to bring in an influential star player with high quality, and we all think Tevez could fit the bill. However due to a lack of winter training and match fitness, he didn't meet our expectations."

Tevez won two league titles and the 2008 Champions League with Manchester United, adding another title and an FA Cup after his inflammatory move across the city to cross-town rivals Manchester City, before moving on to Juventus and scooping two Serie A titles. An emotional return to Boca Juniors ended with his lucrative switch to China.

He has represented his country at two World Cups, in 2006 and 2010. His last international caps came in October 2015.