Patrice Evra insists Carlos Tevez will never disrespect Manchester United.
Tevez launched a last-ditch attempt to save his Red Devils career with a pointed goal celebration at Old Trafford on Sunday.
After claiming he had never even received an offer from United to try and extend his stay beyond a two-year loan spell that expires after the Champions League final, the Argentina star declared in an interview that he was now open to other offers.
Yet he could not resist one final attempt to persuade Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him, running straight to the dug-outs and cupping his hands behind his ears as the noise rolled round the stadium demanding that he stays.
It has been viewed as part of a challenge to Ferguson’s authority. But Tevez’s close friend Evra views it differently.
"Carlos is a world class player but he is also a very good professional," said Evra.
"He may have had problems but in all the time he has played he respected the shirt of Manchester United."
In a sense, Tevez’s future is out of Ferguson’s control.
There is little doubt the Scot would like to keep the former West Ham star — but not at £30million, the cost Tevez’s advisor Kia Joorabchian feels he is worth.
As any deal to keep him in England would presumably include total loss of Joorabchian’s third-party ownership of the South American, a similar fee would be required for it to be worthwhile Tevez joining Manchester City, Tottenham, Chelsea or any other potential Premier League suitor.
City undoubtedly have the resources. They do not however have the status, as was proved on Sunday when they struggled to contain their illustrious neighbours.
Indeed, while Tevez might be unhappy at the number of times he has been overlooked this season, his record of 48 appearances compares to the 40 Robinho has made for City, a figure that does not include any major semi-finals or finals.
Mulling over Tevez’s future is only half of the player unrest Ferguson found himself confronting after Cristiano Ronaldo’s bizarre show of petulance.
Given the Portugal superstar will almost certainly play some part against Wigan on Wednesday and Arsenal next Saturday as United chase the four points required to seal a title hat-trick, his angry response to being substituted after an hour was odd.
In times gone by Ferguson might have taken the winger down a peg or two in the privacy of United’s dressing room.
However, in these days of player power, influential agents and multi-million pound wages, even a manager of Ferguson’s stature will think twice before causing an argument, particularly as rumours of a summer move to Real Madrid for Ronaldo persist.