Maverick Tevez can still help City win the title
According to Paolo Di Canio, it was the late Tony Banks, then Minister for Sport, who wrote he was 'a barbarian who should go home'. Such was the vitriol and overreaction that made him an outcast in his adopted country.
Paolo was a marvellous footballer, but when he pushed over referee Paul Alcock it was the story of its time, front-page news across England. The man Ron Atkinson had called 'The Volcano' had apparently erupted.
He got an 11-game suspension and a 10,000 fine from the FA. There was no obvious way back. So my dad, Harry Redknapp, signed him for West Ham. Dad could not wait to get his hands on him, seeing beyond the tantrums to his talent and his explosive ability.
Look who's back: Carlos Tevez (right) is training with Manchester City again
Paolo became one of West Ham's greatest players, scored one of the Premier League's greatest goals with a scissor volley against Wimbledon and is now remembered there with the same affection as players such as Sir Trevor Brooking, Sir Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore (who should be a Sir too).
Let us remember Eric Cantona too was untouchable when he arrived in England. The French had given up on him and when he first came here, it was for an aborted trial with Sheffield Wednesday. Eventually, he became a revelation for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, as we know.
In football, it's never too late to be sorry, or for someone to give you another chance. Which brings us to Carlos Tevez.
Show-off: Tevez leaves Carrington
Tevez is a different player to Cantona and Di Canio but he is a goalscorer and he too has been presented with a second chance. He is a lucky boy.
He would have been playing in another country, if anyone would have paid his asking price and wages, but he's not. He behaved very badly towards his club, his manager and supporters who might sell their favourite aunt just to have 10 minutes playing for Manchester City.
In normal circumstances, he would not be allowed back into the club. But he is back. He can play, we know that. He is a ferocious chaser of lost causes and a potential match-winner, especially when he starts to score, because his goals tend to come in batches.
He has scored 53 goals in 74 starts in all competitions – 44 in the league – for City. That's the good part.
His return to Manchester spells danger for Roberto Mancini, trouble he can probably do without but the Italian has shown he is not afraid of danger. He signed Mario Balotelli!
When I played for Gerard Houllier, the Liverpool dressing room loved Nicolas Anelka, because he was a talent and an explosive footballer, but Houllier didn't like the unpredictability of his nature. Some managers can't handle mavericks.
Tough decision: City manager Roberto Mancini must work out how to use Tevez
So what does Mancini do now Surely he would rather not pick him, or have him around at all. Tevez might have to wait for an emergency before he gets a chance. Balotelli and Yaya Toure are available again and so Tevez will have to work hard, play for the reserves and show patience.
Is he capable of that It's up to Tevez. He has to show contrition and build bridges. What works in his favour is that when he plays, he plays; you get the full all-action hero with a passion, desire and will to win. That's when he agrees to play.
And even if his likely motive is a move away in the summer, he has to have missed playing, doesn't he
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I have never resented the money modern players earn, but what I have resented is seeing him with a golf club in his hand at a time when he should be playing for his football club. He is wasting his talent, whatever the reasons. There is a lot of time for him to play golf when he is finished and retired.
I am interested by Joleon Lescott's welcoming statement. If the defender's reaction is typical of the mood of the dressing room, Tevez will have no trouble settling back in. His team-mates will be pleased to see him, despite his behaviour and absence. He is not an unpopular chap from what I can gather.
Even when players may speak out against a team-mate at the time of disorder, they will overlook their misdemeanour once they are back in the fold and making a difference on the pitch. The reaction from the dressing room has kept the door ajar for him.
Mancini must be selfish and pick Tevez only when it suits him and the team. He knows he will be judged on this decision and if it gives City a push towards the title, then the return of Carlos Tevez will be an act of genius.
He doesn't need me to explain what he will be remembered for if it goes wrong from here. This is the business end of the season, there is little margin for error.
Ask Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp or Arsene Wenger if they would be happy to call on a fit and fired-up Tevez, with something to prove, at this stage of the run-in.
I'm certain the answer would be yes. If he can prove he is worth the trouble.