SHANGHAI – Furious Chinese football fans branded Carlos Tevez shameless and "a rat" on Wednesday after the Argentine striker described his ill-fated spell at Shanghai Shenhua as a "holiday for seven months".
The 33-year-old struggled for form and fitness during a disastrous stint in China, where he was among the best-paid players in the world on a reported weekly salary of 730,000 euros.
He brought his Chinese nightmare to a premature end when he returned to Boca Juniors earlier this month and on Monday joked with Argentine television channel TyC Sports: "It's fine because I was on holiday for seven months."
That prompted an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media, with fans of a number of Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs rounding on the man often disparagingly labelled "very homesick boy" in the Asian country.
"Football hooligan, please get your arse out and never return to China again. Scum," wrote one on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter.
"I wonder if there is anyone more shameless than him," added another.
Tevez missed half of Shenhua's CSL games injured, out of form or out of shape, and when he did play he failed to justify his hefty pay cheque, scoring just four league goals.
As well as hitting out at Tevez, whose previous clubs include Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, Chinese fans also said Shenhua should take same of the blame.
"After looking at Tevez’s interview my heart as a Chinese football fan is again deeply hurt," wrote another on Weibo.
"While we are chasing Tevez like a rat crossing the street, China's (football) managers should also do some good self-reflection."
In contrast, Tevez has been warmly welcomed back for his third stint at Boca and has a supporter in Argentine great Diego Maradona.
"He filled Santa's sack with dollars and came back to Boca," Maradona was quoted as saying by Argentine TV earlier this month.
Shenhua, who are keen to draw a line under the Tevez fiasco, declined to comment.