(REUTERS) - Carlos Tevez has criticised the standard of Chinese footballers, claiming the country will be unable to match the sport's leading nations "even in 50 years".
The Argentinian forward, who joined Shanghai Shenhua in January from Boca Juniors, made the comments in an interview broadcast on French TV on Thursday after a difficult nine months in the Chinese Super League.
Tevez is the highest paid player in the world, according to media reports when he signed which said he would earn about US$750,000 (S$1 million) per week.
Yet the 33-year-old former Juventus and Manchester United star, who cost a reported US$87 million, has played only 13 games and scored three goals for Shenhua.
"In South America and Europe, players learn to play football when they're kids, but not here," Tevez said.
"So technically, they are not very good.
"Their football is very different. The fans treat it very differently as well. And I don't think they are going to get to the same heights, not even in 50 years."
Tevez has suffered an injury-hit campaign that has seen him constantly linked with a move back to Argentina.
Shenhua recently saw former Uruguay, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Gus Poyet quit as coach with the club in 12th position in the standings while Tevez was criticised for his poor physical condition by new coach Wu Jingui.
Shenhua went into the season with high expectations after finishing third last year under Spanish coach Gregorio Manzano, but the club have lacked consistency throughout the campaign.