Carlos Tevez has claimed that his row with Roberto Mancini last season was a blessing, with the Manchester City striker stating that he is now focused on the club and that his national team, Argentina, are "not my priority".
Tevez did not feature for City for almost six months after he refused to warm up during a Champions League game last September. But the striker, who has 59 caps for Argentina, has scored in his club's first three Premier League games.
Tevez is not in Alejandro Sabella's squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru. Speaking in Buenos Aires where he is taking a break, Tevez said: "I am focused on my club and on the Premier League and the Champions League. This is what I wanted – to have this hunger for success back again. The disagreement with Roberto has ended up being good for me because it has helped give me back this hunger. Before, I was playing just to attract the attention of the national team manager. Now I'm playing for the enjoyment and because I have that desire to win things.
"The national team is not my priority. I am concentrating on my club. I have had my first good pre-season in four or five years and I feel good."
Tevez's club colleague and fellow countryman Sergio Agüero could make a surprise early return to action from his knee injury to play in the qualifier against Peru on 11 September after joining Sabella's squad.
Last Friday Mancini was insistent that the striker would not travel back to his homeland due to the injury, which Agüero suffered in Manchester City's 3-2 win over Southampton in their opening game of the season. But Agüero, who is suspended for the first qualifier at home to Paraguay on 7 September, said: "I explained to the manager that I would see the national team medical staff and he was satisfied with that. I am going to be well looked after. Three days ago I started running and now I am going to consult the doctor here. I still have some pain but we will see how it develops."
Of Tevez's absence despite his strong start to the season Agüero said: "He is playing very well, looking quick and strong. If he keeps playing that way, Sabella will be looking at him."
Agüero, who joined City from Atlético Madrid last year, also offered his view of City's first Champions League group game, the tough trip to neighbouring Real. "Every team in the group is a big team but that only serves to motivate us more. I could never beat Real Madrid with Atlético Madrid so, hopefully, I can change that with City."
Tevez added: "Real will be very difficult rivals but they are great games to play in and even more so because of the group we are in. Cristiano [Ronaldo] is a former team-mate and he is playing as well as ever."
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