There's only one Carlos Tevez

Seven years have passed since Carlos Tevez etched his name into West Ham United folklore, as his goals fired the Hammers to the Greatest Escape.

So much has changed. The Argentine has swapped the Barclays Premier League for Serie A, West Ham are Olympic Stadium bound and the Hammers are in the top four.

And yet, for the legendary No32, where his beloved West Ham are concerned, it is as if he has never been away. Speaking exclusively to West Ham TV ahead of Argentina's Boleyn Ground showdown with Croatia, Tevez voiced his gratitude for a typically affectionate West Ham reception and insisted the feeling will always be mutual.

"I would like to thank everyone, because the welcome here is always brilliant. I care very much about all the West Ham people and I always miss them," he confirmed.

Tevez puts that remarkable affinity with the Club and its fans down to the crisis that enveloped the Hammers in 2006/07 and the collective spirit that took hold to ultimately turn the tide.

"The fact that we had a very tough year, meant that it was very special fighting against relegation," he explained. "I think the club, as well as the fans, did everything they could to get the best out of me in order to save them."


Tevez gets shirty with the Claret and Blue all over again

That season has left an indelible mark on Tevez. Forever grateful for his West Ham experience, the three-time South American Footballer of the Year insists that his time in east London has influenced all that has followed and sent the following message to the Claret and Blue faithful.  

"I'm very, very thankful for everything, I'm number one West Ham fan forever, because of the way they welcomed me, the love they showed me and everything, it was my first time in Europe and they made me who I am today. I will always be very thankful to West Ham fans and I'll be West Ham's number one fan."

So Wednesday's return to the Boleyn Ground promises to be an emotional one for the 30-year-old, who understandably feels that Upton Park is every bit his home away from home.

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"I'm looking forward to it. I know I'm going to be playing a home game. I know the pitch very well and I know the fans very well. I've got great memories of West Ham, they were my first European club, so I'm very relaxed and looking forward to it."

Tevez last scored at the Boleyn Ground in a 3-1 win over Bolton Wanderers in May 2007, on that occasion resisting the temptation to bury himself in the crowd. But old habits die hard and the Argentine is not ruling anything out should the net bulge on Wednesday.

He continued: "I don't know, it's not something that I prepare. It's how I feel in the moment. Maybe, it could happen."

whufc.com and West Ham TV will bring you part two in the coming days, in which Tevez discusses the prospect of one day returning to West Ham, looks ahead to the curtain call at the Boleyn Ground and recalls his magic moments of the Greatest Escape.