Tevez salutes the Boca supporters after scoring his second goal last Sunday

As Boca president Daniel Angelici all but confirms Carlitos’ transfer to the Chinese Super League, stating that it is “almost impossible” to imagine him staying at La Bombonera, the Boca fan favorite will leave a hole in the side that’ll be a tricky one to fill.

It was widely reported this week that Boca Juniors’ Carlos Tevez will be offered a lucrative record-breaking weekly wage of US $760,632, as part of his imminent move to Shanghai Shenhua during the upcoming January transfer window. Such a payout would see him earn a salary of roughly US $40,000,000 a year (that’s US $74 per minute) to become the world’s highest paid footballer, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and fellow countryman Lionel Messi. With those kinds of numbers, Tevez’ temptation to swap the Primera División for the emerging league in China is understandable, however, so too is the disappointment of ‘los xeneizes’, the Boca faithful.

This feeling was clear to see during Boca’s 4-1 home victory over Colón last Sunday, when Tevez received a standing ovation after being substituted in the last minute of the game and had his exit from the field briefly interrupted by a pitch invader that dropped to his knees and, we can safely assume, pleaded with him to stay. Tevez’ subsequent tears as he eventually walked off indicated that perhaps this was his final game at La Bombonera, and his substitution alone signalled a courteous effort by manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto to give the fans an opportunity to show their appreciation of the attacker one last time.

One fan representing the feeling of many at La Bombonera on Sunday
One fan representing the feeling of many at La Bombonera on Sunday

This change was a rare occasion in itself, with Tevez having only been substituted 7 times in his 55 starts for the club since joining. With this in mind, the striker’s influence on the team as a leader and a goalscorer should not be underestimated. Not since Juan Román Riquelme have Boca had such a fabled icon among their ranks, and so Tevez’ role in leading their charge for the title this season and their success last year, should not be overlooked. So far this season, he has created the most assists and chances to score of any player in the league, statistics that led goal.com to dub him the top “desequilibrante” (literally, one who disturbs the ‘equilibrium’ of a defence) in Argentina.

More analysis from goal.com shows that since returning to Buenos Aires from Italian champions Juventus 18 months ago, ‘el Apache’ has played a direct part in 39 goals, scoring 25 and assisting 14, as well has having created 90 chances. What’s more, in the 10 games he did not play, Boca took only 33.3% of points available (two victories, four draws and four losses), a contrast to the 69.6% (22 victories, five draws and seven losses) taken with him in the side.

Looking at these figures, second-place Newell’s Old Boys will certainly have Boca in their sights as they enter the summer break only three points behind the league leaders, who will undoubtedly seem a much less threatening side without their local boy leading the line.