By Rob Harris AP
LONDON — Carlos Tevez finally apologized to Manchester City on Tuesday following a five-month feud that has cost him close to 10 million pounds (US$17 million), and could soon return to action for the club after withdrawing an appeal against his latest fines. The Argentina striker has not played for the Premier League leaders since September when he refused to warm up during a Champions League match and only returned last week from a three-month unauthorized absence at home. City coach Roberto Mancini had initially told Tevez he would never play for City again after his act of public insubordination, but later softened his stance and only asked for an apology. That came on Tuesday, with City announcing that Tevez has “apologized to all concerned for his recent conduct.” “I wish to apologize sincerely and unreservedly to everybody I have let down and to whom my actions over the last few months have caused offense,” Tevez added in the same statement. “My wish is to concentrate on playing football for Manchester City Football Club.” Tevez’s relations with City broke down during last season after the striker said he wanted to leave England to be closer to his family, which moved back to Argentina after failing to settle in Manchester. However, the club refused the then-captain’s transfer request, and Tevez went on to help City end a 35-year trophy drought with a victory in the FA Cup final. But he then enraged Mancini with his act of rebellion at Bayern Munich in September. The dispute has cost Tevez around 10 million pounds (US$17 million) in fines or lost earnings, including a multi-million pound bonus he missed out on by handing in the transfer request. He had been challenging the most recent fine of around 1.2 million pounds (US$2 million), but will now accept the punishment. “Carlos has … withdrawn his appeal against the club’s finding of gross misconduct which was due to be heard by a Premier League panel in the coming days,” City said. “He has since begun a training program designed to return him to optimum fitness.” Tevez had hoped to join AC Milan in the January transfer window but a deal broke down. After the Munich incident, Tevez was suspended by City for two weeks and fined a fortnight’s wages for refusing to resume refusing to warming up during the match. An internal disciplinary hearing found Tevez guilty of five breaches of contract, including bringing the club into disrepute and failing to follow the instructions of his manager. Returning to Argentina in the wake of those sanctions — without permission — seemed to have ended any hope of the striker playing for City again, but he could now return to action when he is fit. City has not struggled without him, with the team on course to win the English championship for the first time since 1968 as it sits top of the standings.