Carragher grabs the popcorn as Neville & Joorabchian debate Tevez Man Utd spell on live video call

Goal.com

Kia Joorabchian, agent of ex-Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez, has responded to the Argentine's former team-mate Gary Neville's criticisms of the forward in a lively television debate - with fellow pundit Jamie Carragher bringing the popcorn.

Neville previously claimed that Tevez - who spent a two-year loan spell at United between 2007 and 2009 before moving to rivals Manchester City - had downed tools in his second season at Old Trafford after learning that they would not sign him permanently.

Joorabchian had previously fired back at Neville, accusing the former England international of misrepresenting Tevez's form and character, and the pair went head-to-head via video link on Friday to debate the matter further.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The agent told Sky Sports: "I'm here because Gary said something a couple of days ago which I think was absolutely wrong. I think when you go after somebody and you make a lot of wrong and incorrect statements, then by letting it go you do the public a disservice by letting them listen to fake information.

"Gary mentioned about Carlos downing tools and his professionalism, he also mentioned about problems in his second year [at Man United] with people talking in his ear. I'd like to know who he thinks was talking into his ear and what they think he was saying, because unless he was hacking or taping him, it is impossible for him to know what they were saying.

"Furthermore, I must apologise for an incorrect stat I gave on a previous appearance - I said Gary played four times that year, in fact he played once in Carlos' first year because unfortunately he was injured. When Gary made a comparison between year one and year two, he could not have known too much about that first year because he was mostly on the treatment table.

"Finally, I think Sir Alex Ferguson was one of the great managers of my time, regardless what side of the hairdryer you were. The one thing I learned about Sir Alex was that he had his finger to the pulse all the time, he knew what his players were doing on the training ground, off the training ground, at home.

"By questioning that second year, Gary is asking whether Sir Alex had his finger to the pulse, because he picked Carlos 51 times in 2008-09. Sir Alex would not have picked someone 51 times if they were being unprofessional."

Gary Neville Carlos Tevez
Gary Neville Carlos Tevez

Neville responded with some statistics of his own, which showed Tevez scored 14 goals in 34 Premier League appearances in 2007-08, but only five in 29 games in 2008-09 as his form dropped away.

The former right-back said he had seen with his own eyes the change in Tevez's attitude and body language, which he claimed had impacted the striker in 2008-09 after he had previously formed part of a ferocious front three during his first campaign with the club.

He said: "The period after Christmas, where it was obvious United were not going to exercise the option, there is no doubt Carlos became disinterested, distracted, he wasn't the same around the training ground, he went into a more sulky mood because the club were not signing him.

"Carlos' performances in the second season dipped and he scored a lot less goals. My view is that there were a lot of complications for Carlos with the club not triggering his option. I don't need to do my research on Carlos in the last five months at United, I was watching the boy.

"Carlos was a warrior on the football pitch, I've never seen anything more brilliant than him in the first season with Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, in the last few months, the drop in his manner and his performances, maybe because he wasn't being taken on by the club, was alarming.

"When I talk about people in his ear, Carlos had third-party ownership, I felt at the time there was so much distraction, so much noise about how much the third-party owners were going to make, these were things in Carlos' ear all the time.

"He wasn't being picked as much, he was a substitute, he was definitely a different person in the last five months at the club."

Amid the debate, fellow pundit Carragher brought levity to the situation by eating wide-eyed from a bag of popcorn, referencing a commonly used GIF and meme as he watched the debate unfold.

The joke was well received as both Neville and Joorabchian laughed at the former Liverpool defender, with Neville branding his fellow pundit "a mad man".

What to read next