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Zabaleta relishing Messi contest

Pablo Zabaleta v Hull A39O3179

Pablo Zabaleta v Hull A39O3179

Pablo Zabaleta is relishing the thought of playing against his old friend Lionel Messi in the New Year.

The Blues pulled the plum tie in the Champions League Round of 16 when City v Barcelona was the first tie drawn out.

Now Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero and Martin Demichelis will face Messi for a place in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite competition.

“I played against Lionel for Espanyol against Barcelona and I recall in my second season at City when we played in the Nou Camp in the Joan Gamper Trophy against Barcelona and we won 1-0 with a goal from Martin Petrov so I think we’re about level at the moment!" said Pablo.

Zabaleta

 

Now we have to face Barcelona in the Champions League and we will be ready. I think it will be a fantastic game, but we’ll wait and see…

 

....Zabaleta

 

Zaba also recalls the interest Messi had in City around the time of his move to Manchester from Espanyol.

“When we were in Barcelona we were very close friends because we were living in the same city and we had known each other for a number of years,” said Pablo.

“I was just starting out at Espanyol and Lionel was at Barca and when I signed for City, I think two days later the news broke that Sheikh Mansour had bought the club and Lionel always recalls that I joined at such a fantastic time.

“He asked me a lot about City but I didn’t know that much because I didn’t know that much myself but it’s something we often talk about plus the fact I’m still here!

“As a player, you have to try and win everything you are involved in. There are differences between each competition, of course.

“The Premier League is over 38 games while the Champions League and World Cup have fewer games and anything can happen.

“From my own experience, winning the Premier league was so special because it means everything to the players and the supporters and is the biggest prize in England. As for the Champions League, we are up against the best teams in Europe  – but we will try our best and you never know in football.”

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