Carlos Tévez has taken a swipe at Chinese football and its aim of breaking into upper echelons of the footballing hierarchy, while also criticizing the standard of national players, who he branded as being “not very good.”
Tévez, who moved to the Chinese Super League earlier this year, expressed his doubts that China would be able to match the sport's leading nations "even in 50 years".
The Argentinian striker, who joined Shanghai Shenhua in January from Boca Juniors, made the comments in an interview broadcast on French television on Thursday after a difficult nine months in the Chinese Super League.
Tévez is the highest paid player in the world, according to media reports when he signed which said he would earn about $750,000 per week.
Yet the 33-year-old former Juventus and Manchester United striker, who cost a reported $87 million, has played only 13 games and scored three goals for Shenhua.
Tévez: "Technically, they're not very good"
"In South America and Europe, players learn to play football when they're kids, but not here," Tévez said. "So technically they are not very good.”
"Their football is very different. The fans treat it very differently as well. And I don't think they are going to get to the same heights, not even in 50 years."
Tévez has suffered an injury-hit campaign that has seen him constantly linked with a move back to Argentina.
Shanghai recently saw former Uruguay, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gus Poyet quit as coach with the club in 12th position in the standings while Tévez was criticised for his poor physical condition by new coach Wu Jingui.
Shenhua went into the season with high expectations after finishing third last year under Spanish coach Gregorio Manzano, but the club have lacked consistency throughout the campaign.