For a club long used to providing the punch-line for easy jokes, having not won a major trophy for 34 years and enduring spells in the third tier of English football during that barren spell, yesterday should have marked something of a coming of age, the moment at which they were finally taken seriously.
Not going quietly: Tevez was not happy with the decision to sub him against Bolton
And yet, City being City - they infamously once tried to run down time in a game on the false assumption that a draw would keep them up; it didn't - the day was utterly overshadowed by the prospect of losing Tevez, which will horrify most Manchester City supporters. It is not just that he is by far and away their best player, a fact supported by statistics that show before yesterday they had won only once since January without his goals and that he had scored 42 per cent of all their goals this season.
It is the fact that the charismatic Argentinian was the symbol of the changing balance of power in Manchester and in English football. When the club plucked him from Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson deciding he was not worth the fees demanded to renew his contract, it was the most audacious transfer between the clubs since Denis Law moved from Old Trafford to Maine Road.
City committed to paying a reported £47million to the company controlled by Tevez's manager, Kia Joorabchian, when they signed him on a five-year deal in 2009. A huge chunk of that may now never be paid, as it is understood that it was dependent on Tevez seeing out his contract. Nevertheless, a £26.5m up-front payment and wages of £7.5m a year were a big financial ask, even for the oilrich billionaire owner of City, Sheik Mansour.
Target man: Carlos Tevez (left) has scored 39 goals in 60 games for City
'Welcome to Manchester' taunted City with an iconic poster of the Argentinian, a dig at their more successful neighbours, who actually play in Salford. However, the truth appears to be that Tevez has been yearning for Buenos Aires and Latin culture for some time.
His football life has always been complex given that he was 'owned' by Joorabchian. The Iranian-born, British-educated businessman bought the striker's economic rights while he was at Boca Juniors in Argentina, moved him to Brazilian club Corinthians in 2005, then to West Ham - who were almost relegated by the Premier League after failing to reveal the true terms of his contract - and then on to Manchester United.
Tevez's personal life is more complicated still. He was raised in Fuerte Apache, a municipal housing project built in the 1960s on the edge of the River Plate to find homes for slum dwellers. He was adopted at six months old by his aunt and her husband after his natural mother, Fabiana, accidently spilt boiling water over him, the scars from which he still bears on his face.
Tevez recognises his aunt and uncle and cousins as his true family but it was seemingly his relationship with Vanesa Mansilla, 27, his long- term girlfriend, that provided emotional security. She is mother to his children, Florencia, five, and Katie, 18 months. Yet at the beginning of this year Tevez began a relationship with a 19-year-old actress, Brenda Asnicar, and Vanesa and the girls moved back to Buenos Aires.
Troubled: Carlos Tevez
Ever since then Tevez appears to have been in a quandary, making frequent visits back to Buenos Aires and seemingly missing his daughters. Manchester City have been sympathetic, recognising his emotional exhaustion.
The player denied reports that he has been treated for depression, but last month he said: 'I am tired of football, really tired. I want to enjoy my family, to stop and have some quiet in my life. I have already won a lot. I am exhausted. I have lived in England for four years and I can't say a word in English.'
Indeed, Tevez's English is almost non-existent, but he remains a popular member of the City team.
Nevertheless, there has also been growing tension with manager Roberto Mancini, which has been simmering ever since the Italian took over just under a year ago.
Tevez was always an admirer of former City manager Mark Hughes and the Argentinian was in the core group of players who were shocked at the manner in which the club dismissed him.
Shay Given, Stephen Ireland and Craig Bellamy were the others and the latter two have since left, while Given is in the reserves. Making Tevez captain has made little difference, as was evident by last weekend's show of disaffection when he was substituted by Mancini against Bolton.
The manager has insisted on training twice a day, switching the times of sessions to make sure the players work at the times at which matches are played and demanding longer hours.
Even without the extra work, Tevez was one of the fittest, hardest-working players in the team. But Mancini is determined to prevail and for now he has the backing of chief executive Garry Cook and football administrator Brian Marwood.
However, there has been no player quite like Carlos Tevez in the soap opera that has been Manchester City. Losing him would be like killing off the star character of the show.
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Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Craig Bellamy, Shay Given, Denis Law, Mark Hughes, Carlos Tevez, Roberto Mancini Places: Buenos Aires, Manchester, Argentina, United Kingdom