Carlos Tevez has claimed Chinese football is 50 years behind the world’s top leagues.
The former Argentina striker signed for Shanghai Shenhua in January on a contract which made him the highest-paid player in the world on a reported £650,000 per week but has endured an unhappy time on the field.
And he told French broadcaster SFR Sport: “In South America and Europe, players learn to play football when they’re kids, but not here. 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 scored just three goals in 13 games with his team struggling in the league, and last week was labelled “overweight” by new coach Wu Jingui.
Wu replaced former Brighton and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet, who resigned last week.
Tevez’s career has taken him from Boca Juniors in his homeland, via Corinthians in Brazil, to a spell in the Premier League with West Ham, Manchester United and Manchester City.
He won two league titles and the 2008 Champions League with United, adding another title and an FA Cup after his inflammatory move across the city, before moving on to Juventus and scooping two Serie A titles. An emotional return to Boca ended with his lucrative switch to China.
He has represented his country at two World Cups, in 2006 and 2010. His last international caps came in October 2015.