Argentina coach Sergio Batista says he has no personal problem with Carlos Tevez despite confirming he will probably leave the Manchester City forward out of his Copa America squad.
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Tevez has just won the FA Cup in England and is the Premier League’s joint topscorer with 21 goals but is out of favor with the national team.
”There’s absolutely no personal problem with Carlos,” Batista said on Thursday. ”If I had a problem I would say that Carlos is out forever.”
Despite acknowledging that the 27-year-old forward, who scored twice in City’s league win against Stoke on Tuesday, was playing well, Batista said he was unlikely to make the squad for the South American championship in July.
”For the Copa America it’s difficult, but he’s not ruled out, I don’t rule out anybody,” Batista said, adding that Tevez may be called up for the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Diego Maradona, Batista’s predecessor as Argentina coach, said on Wednesday that a person would have to ”be drunk or stoned” to leave out Tevez.
The player himself has expressed puzzlement over his exclusion and said Batista had failed to answer his telephone calls.
”I don’t know if Tevez called me, honestly. I’m going to talk to him in the next few days and then we’ll see,” Batista said.
The Argentina coach said Tevez was surplus to requirements because his tactics favored attackers such as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain and Atletico Madrid’s Sergio Aguero.
Batista said he was disappointed with Maradona’s comments: ”I’m upset with Diego because of the respect thing. The lack of respect upsets me.”
Maradona played alongside Batista in Argentina’s 1986 World Cup-winning squad and again four years later when the side reached the final.