I said no to Real for City: Tevez

The Argentine striker reveals he turned down a clutch of top English and European clubs to sign for Manchester City.

Carlos Tevez, here posing with children during Manchester City's stay in Abu Dhabi yesterday, said he was wanted by some of Europe's leading clubs but chose the Eastlands club
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ABU DHABI // Manchester City's newest recruit, Argentine striker Carlos Tevez, has revealed he turned down a clutch of top English and European clubs to sign for City. Confirming Liverpool and Chelsea also enquired about securing his services, Tevez - speaking at press conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday where Manchester City were staying before travelling on to South Africa for a pre-season tour - also revealed Spanish giants Real Madrid contacted his representatives proposing a switch to the Spanish capital. "Real made an offer but there was no agreement," said Tevez. "There were talks about deals and agreements but in the end it was only City."

No player's arrival has underlined Manchester City's emergence as a genuine Premier League force more than that of the diminutive forward. The enigmatic workhorse, idolised at former clubs Boca Juniors and West Ham, left City's cross-town rivals earlier this summer when Manchester United failed to finalise a long-term contract for a player their fans adored. As the Red Devils dithering as they chased a third title in a row, United fans held up banners at games saying: "Sign him up Fergie."

Too late, Ferguson tried, but feeling unwanted by the months of smokescreens and delays which had emanated from the corridors Old Trafford, Tevez let his two-year deal run down and headed for the exit door. As he divulged yesterday, there were no shortage of clubs queuing for his signature. However, City's relentless pursuit persuaded Tevez of his next stop. Hughes, fresh from missing out on Barcelona's Samuel Eto'o, had beaten three Champions League clubs to his £25 million (Dh150.5m) man.

"I'm sad to leave United, but I'm excited to join City. I'm thinking about the future and I'll grow with this club," Tevez said, adding: "They showed lots of interest in me and are intent on growing and signing big players." Tevez will form a new-look City attack this season, lining up alongside £18m Roque Santa Cruz and Sheikh Mansour's original glamour signing, the £32m Brazilan, Robinho. With the club also hoping to complete negotiations for the £25m transfer of Arsenal's Togolese striker Emmanual Adebayor, the front four City hope will push them into Champions League contention this year will have cost a combined £100m.

City also announced that they will play a friendly against the UAE national team at Zayed Sports City Stadium on Nov 12. emegson@thenational.ae