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Carlos Tevez: Chinese football won't reach the top - 'even in 50 years'

Shanghai Shenhua striker Carlos Tevez has launched an attack on the capabilities of Chinese footballers, claiming those playing in the country will not be able to reach the top "even in 50 years."

The Argentine has spent the last nine months in China after joining Shenhua on a lucrative two-year contract from Boca Juniors in January,

"In South America and Europe, players learn to play football when they're kids, but not here," Tevez told SFR Sport. "So technically they are not very good.

"Their football is very different. The fans treat it very differently as well. And I don't think they are going to get to the same heights, not even in 50 years."

Tevez, who has played for European clubs including Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus, has endured a difficult spell in the Chinese Super League amid constant rumours of an impending return to his homeland.

He has played just 13 times in the league and scored only three goals, having struggled with a persistent calf injury, while Shenhua have languished in the lower reaches of the standings.

Gus Poyet recently quit as Shenhua boss with the team in 12th place, a disappointing return for the club after they finished in third position last season.

New coach Wu Jingui claimed Tevez was too out of shape to feature for Shenhua after his appointment as Poyet's replacement, only to introduce him as a second-half substitute in the 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Shanghai SIPG, a game in which the forward scored.

Shenhua, however, can still qualify for next year's Asian Champions League if they win the Chinese FA Cup. They take on second division Shanghai Shenxin in the second leg of the semifinals next week, with Shenhua holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg.

Michael Church has written about Asian football for more than 20 years and mainly covers the Chinese game for ESPN FC. Twitter: @michaelrgchurch

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