Shenhua denies Tevez rumors

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Carlos Tevez.

In the latest twist to the Carlos Tevez saga, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua denied rumors that the Argentina international has been told he didn't have an automatic position in the club's first team.

Club spokesman Ma Yue posted a statement through his personal Weibo account on Monday, clarifying rumors over the club's handsomely-paid striker. According to Argentine media "EJU", Tevez was told he could not take his position in the club's first team for granted. It also claimed that Tevez refused to play in a reserve team match and even refused to pick up calls.

"First of all, the team never told him that he has no position in the first team. Refusing to pick up calls (situation) doesn't exist, either," Ma wrote in the statement. "On the contrary, head coach Wu Jingui and assistant coach Mao Yijun have been observing him closely, and they have good communication."

"Secondly, the club never asked him to take part in reserve team matches, so there is no case for 'refusing to play'. And thirdly, Tevez brought a personal trainer with him when he came back from the break in Argentina. I'm not trying to look for excuses for him, but want to say that he has not given up on himself, like some foreign media have claimed. He knows clearly that it's impossible to enter the starting line-up just because of his fame. When all five (of our) foreign players are ready to play, one has to work hard to be among the chosen three (in the first team)."

Despite much expectations at the beginning of the season, Tevez has scored only three goals in a total of 17 appearances for the club in all competitions.

On Saturday, Shenhua claimed its first Chinese Super League victory since Wu took over from Uruguayan Gus Poyet, beating Guangzhou R&F 3-1 at Hongkou Football Stadium. The club is now 11th in the 16-team standing on 28 points from 26 matches.

Shenhua takes on second-tier Shanghai Shenxin on Friday in the second leg of their CFA Cup semifinal at Jinshan Stadium.

According to Ma, Shenhua captain Giovanni Moreno has requested the Colombian national team for a delay in his return to the team for the World Cup South American qualifiers. Colombia was due to gather on September 23. Moreno would stay with Shenhua for the CFA Cup match before heading to Colombia on Saturday. He will return to Shanghai on October 12.

Shenhua beat Shenxin 1-0 in the first leg. If it reaches the final, it will take on the winner between city rival SIPG and Guangzhou Evergrande for the CFA Cup title. SIPG leads that semifinal 2-1 after the first leg.

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