Carlos Tevez and Disneyland trip highlight Shanghai Shenhua problems

Just five games into the season and the seemingly inevitable questions over Carlos Tevez's commitment to Shanghai Shenhua and the Chinese Super League are already being asked. For a highly paid foreign star, there's no such thing as an innocent trip to a theme park.

While his teammates were limbering up for their meeting with Changchun Yatai on Saturday, photos appeared online of Tevez striding through Shanghai's Disneyland, seemingly with little concern for the calf injury that prevented him from travelling with the rest of the squad.

Tevez-less Shenhua's trip to Jilin province ended in success. A late 3-2 win, thanks to a Giovani Moreno goal, was the club's second victory of the season and their first since the opening day of the campaign, when they notched up a 4-0 thrashing of last season's runners-up Jiangsu Suning.

At the time that win and the manner in which it was achieved came as a surprise. Shenhua had looked sluggish in their 2-0 loss at the hands of Brisbane Roar in the AFC Champions League (ACL) playoffs two weeks earlier, but against Choi Yong-soo's side they were on the front foot, forceful and promising.

Tevez scored one and had a hand in the other three in a performance that suggested, despite concerns to the contrary, that he would be devoted to his new employers, and to Chinese football in general.

Since then, however, there has been precious little to excite. Even the opening-day win has been put into perspective by Jiangsu's struggles. The Nanjing-based club have been poor in the CSL, enduring a run of form that has left them next-to-bottom of the standings, and yet to win a game.

Shenhua's subsequent games saw them held to a draw by Tianjin Quanjian before defeats against Beijing Guoan and Hebei CFFC. None of them easy fixtures, admittedly, but still the kind of matches in which a star player such as Tevez is expected to deliver. Instead, he was peripheral.

It is in that context that Tevez's decision to take his family to Disneyland when rest and recuperation would have been better advised has riled a growing number of observers, both within Shenhua's fan base and the local media.

With Shenhua's cross-city rivals SIPG impressing so far this season, the differences have been acute. While Oscar has yet to truly take off -- his two penalty misses against Urawa last week highlighted that he has not fully hit his stride -- both Hulk and Elkeson have been in devastating form. It is a disparity that has been picked up on.

"Tevez has not been communicating with his teammates and he has refused to take part in some games in training," claimed Shanghai newspaper Wenhui Bao over the weekend.

"Compare that to Hulk, who is fully devoted in every training session and who travelled with the team to Japan when he was injured. He even participated in all of the training sessions in Japan and has shown the professionalism of a top player."

Perhaps it is unfair to make the comparison, without knowing the full extent of the injuries sustained by either player. Hulk travelled to Japan for the ACL meeting with Urawa Red Diamonds on the off-chance he would have recovered sufficiently from a knee injury sustained in the win over Shandong just days before.

But Tevez's demeanour, price tag, profile and previous history mean many have already made up their minds so early in what has already been a complicated start to the season for Shenhua.

Pointed questions were asked of Poyet when he chose not to play Fredy Guarin in the ACL playoff. Obafemi Martins, meanwhile, has been on the fringes, with Saturday's game his first CSL appearance this season.

Then there have been the issues that have blighted Qin Sheng, the victim of a huge overreaction by the governing body when he was banned for six months and hit with a hefty fine. All for stamping on Axel Witsel's foot in a game that was being broadcast live on television in the United Kingdom.

The team's form, including missing out on a place in the group stages of the ACL -- a stated goal going into the season -- has done little to suggest Shenhua will be competing for the major prizes at the business end of the season. Poyet has struggled to take the team forward since replacing Gregorio Manzano.

But it is Tevez -- as was always likely to be the case -- who has attracted the most attention, and not just because of his rumoured $800,000 a week pay packet. The issues that affected his stints at previous clubs are well-known, coupled with a reluctance to leave his native Argentina, mean he was always going to be under the spotlight.

And this particular trip to Disneyland may not have a happy-ever-after conclusion.