Friday, September 01, 2006


Tevez: I stood on the North Bank as a kid...

...well not quite, but he says that he has followed West Ham recently thanks to a close friendship with ex-Hammer and fellow Argentine Lionel Scaloni.

C+P from the official site.

Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano insist they had no fear in turning down some of Europe's biggest clubs in order to join Alan Pardew's exciting young squad at West Ham United.

The Argentinian pair completed a sensational move to Upton Park from Brazilian club Corinthians on Thursday afternoon, and revealed that - thanks to their friend and former Hammers loan signing Lionel Scaloni - they are fond admirers of the claret and blue.

Striker Tevez, widely regarded as one of the most exciting young players in world football, said: "I first heard about the possibility of joining West Ham United 48 hours ago. I had followed the club quite a bit last season because I am a close friend of Lionel Scaloni. We watched every West Ham game in Argentina because of our friendship and he spoke very highly of the club, its supporters and the manager.

"Yes, it's true, other clubs in the Premier League and around Europe were interested in signing both myself and Javier. But when we met Alan Pardew the choice was simple - he made us both feel really wanted.

"I know there will be a lot of fuss around us because we are two new players from Argentina, but we see ourselves as team players, not individuals. That was another attraction for coming here - Mr Pardew explained that there is a great team spirit at the Club, and we want to be a part of that.

"When you are thousands of miles away from home, team-mates become like family, and it is important to have a good spirit - it shows we are all working together. We both want to learn English, because it is important to integrate with the team and our new colleagues."

Mascherano, who at 22 is the same age as Tevez, was equally excited about the move and admitted that it was also the influence of the Hammers boss that persuaded him to put pen to paper at Upton Park.

"Mr Pardew's enthusiasm rubbed off on both of us," says Javier. "He talked about his vision for us and the club, and we both became very excited. He is organised, with a clear idea of what he expects, and I was very impressed with his approach.

"I am also aware of some of the great players at West Ham. I know of Anton Ferdinand - he is talked about a lot in Argentina as a great player of future, while I also like Nigel Reo-Coker, who is a very dynamic captain and displays the work ethic that is clearly in place at West Ham.

"We also like the sound of English football being quicker, with a lot of pressure. We will both improve as players because of that. And I am excited about playing in the UEFA Cup. In Argentina, European competition matches are watched with great enthusiasm, and it will be a wonderful experience for us."

Tevez has been handed the number 32 shirt at Upton Park, while Mascherano will wear number 16. Both have already shown a keen willingness to settle into life at Upton Park straight away - the first question they asked upon being presented with a West Ham United shirt was: 'Tell us about the Hammers - where does that symbol come from?', while as Chairman Terence Brown revealed, Javier even asked to be given the number six shirt made famous by Bobby Moore!

Both players are currently in London on international duty with Argentina ahead of their friendly match against Brazil at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium on Sunday, and will report for their first day's training with the Hammers on Tuesday.

Details of their official unveiling as West Ham United players will be announced here on as soon as they are confirmed.

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