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By ESPN Staff
May 16, 2008

Tevez keen to extend Old Trafford stay

Carlos Tevez is ready to sign a permanent contract with Manchester United.

The Argentina international has enjoyed a superb debut campaign with the Red Devils following an acrimonious summer move from West Ham United.

Having signed on a two-year loan, United officials are investigating the best way to sort out Tevez's ownership situation with Kia Joorabchian and formalise the contract.

Given the length of time it took to get Tevez to Old Trafford in the first place, reaching a resolution is unlikely to be easy.

But, after waking to confirmation of Cristiano Ronaldo's eventual desire to play in Spain, Sir Alex Ferguson will be comforted by Tevez's statement of intent.

'I would certainly love to extend my contract,' said the 24-year-old.

'I would go and sign right now if the opportunity was there.'

It is hardly a surprise that Tevez, like most South Americans - and Portuguese for that matter -would one day like to experience life in Spain.

But he is unequivocal about his desire to remain with United and win trophies under Ferguson.

'La Liga is a possibility eventually but that day is a long way off,' he said.

'I know a lot of South Americans prefer to play in Italy or Spain when they move to Europe but I am really pleased that I came here.

'This is the best league in the world and I am among some of the best footballers in the world.

'I am not one to be making comparisons between clubs but Manchester United are right up there with anyone in the world.

'When there were problems last summer, everyone assured me it would reach a positive conclusion and I am glad it did.

'From day one, everyone has treated me well and made me feel right at home. The fans at Manchester United even shout `Argentina'. That is why I am so happy here.'

Not that he has has abandoned his roots, even after two years in England.

He remains a Boca Juniors fan at heart, which is perhaps no surprise given his childhood in Buenos Aires and the fact he played for the club aged just 16.

Perhaps more of a shock, certainly to Ferguson, is the fact he set his alarm for 4am yesterday to see Boca held 2-2 in the Libertadores Cup by Mexican side Atlas.

'I follow all the games live when I can and although the Atlas result was not good, I still believe we can get to the final,' he said.

The use of the word `we' was quickly corrected but Tevez does little to dissuade anyone of his passion for home.

After winning a gold medal in Athens, he has already experienced the Olympic atmosphere once but if the call came to compete in Beijing this summer, it would be accepted even if Ferguson is unlikely to be happy about losing the forward in August.

'I don't know if they will want me but I always love playing for my country,' confirmed Tevez.

However, there are more pressing concerns just at the moment, like beating Chelsea in the Champions League final next Wednesday.

In collecting his first major European medal by helping United overcome Wigan to lift the Premier League last weekend, Tevez knows he can cap a truly memorable campaign by winning in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

'It is great to live through and experience the build-up to such a big game,' he said.

'I know, even in South America, after the World Cup and the domestic tournaments, it is the most followed competition. For a player, being involved in it, it is the second biggest thing you can be involved in after the World Cup.'

Tevez may not speak much English but, through Ronaldo, gets his point across when required and is clearly a popular figure in the United dressing room.

For his part, the striker can see how much influence Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have on the club which is why, though Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney may be more obvious matchwinners, Tevez can see a bigger picture.

'It is vital we have the experienced guys in the team who know what situations like this are like,' he said.

'People like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes can settle everyone down and help us prepare mentally for the game on Wednesday.

'We can approach it with a bit more confidence knowing they are there to keep us focussed on the game.'