Carlos Tevez, the world's highest-paid footballer, has defended his visit to Disneyland while missing a game for Shanghai Shenhua due to injury, and appeared to scotch rumours of an imminent return to Argentina's Boca Juniors.
The 32-year-old Argentine striker, who came to the Shanghai club this year for a reported a 38-million-euro ($40 million) salary, was photographed Saturday at Shanghai Disneyland just as his Chinese Super League side was playing another team.
The outing left some fans fuming that Tevez was not up for the game against Changchun Yatai with his club languishing in the middle of the CSL pack, but was healthy enough for the rigours of a trek around the Magic Kingdom with his family.
"That was my day off. I'm a normal person and it is normal to have a good time with my family during my time off," Tevez, who is suffering from a calf injury, said through a Chinese interpreter in a video interview posted online Thursday.
He said he went to the theme park after completing his training that day.
Shenhua ended up beating Changchun Yatai, 3-2.
Tevez confessed in the interview that he "hasn't completely gotten used to" the Chinese league yet and needs to "better adapt with the team and the CSL environment".
But he seemed to pour water on rumours of a return to Boca Juniors, the club where he started his career and to where he returned in 2015 before making his Shanghai move.
"Me and my family all like Shanghai and I'm slowly getting used to the city and the atmosphere. I will stay here," he said.
The Disney controversy came the same day that another international footballer imported by China, Brazilian Paulinho, was admonished by his team Guangzhou Evergrande for promoting a betting company alongside a Japanese porn star.
Gambling and casinos are illegal in mainland China, as is the sale of pornographic films.