Carlos Tevez could play for Manchester City again this season if he returns to the club and proves his fitness to manager Roberto Mancini.
Despite a widespread belief that the 27-year-old would have left City during the transfer window, the Argentine remains with the Premier League leaders.
Interest from AC Milan, Inter Milan and Paris Saint Germain failed to turn into permanent moves and Tevez is still under contract.
The striker remains in Argentina and, as yet, there has been no indication when he may return to England.
However, Mancini, who previously stated it was unthinkable for Tevez to play for the club again, has named him in his 25-man squad for the remainder of the season.
And, however unlikely, the former Manchester United man could play a part in the title run-in, as Mancini said: "Carlos is not an option at the moment, but it is possible in the future if he comes back.
"I hope for him he has been training in the last three months to help his condition.
"There is only one thing on my mind, the Barclays Premier League. But if he comes back - and he is fit - it is possible."
Meanwhile, Mancini has confirmed Owen Hargreaves remains available, but has struggled to gain any consistent form during his time at City, triggering the deadline-day loan deal that saw David Pizarro move from Roma.
"Owen always has these little problems," said Mancini. "When he came to us in the summer, we took a gamble, because he had not played for two years.
"We thought we could try and get him fit in two or three months and then he would be able to play.
"But, like any player who hasn't played for two years, when they start to train, every day there is a problem, with his knee or his hamstring.
"I hope for him he eventually is able to play all the time. He deserves to."
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