Transfer news: Barcelona forward Lionel Messi admits his interest in Manchester City... sort of
City's Argentinian right-back reveals that the two remain close friends from their time in Barcelona and Messi asked him what life was like at the Etihad
Tuesday 26 November 2013
Lionel Messi’s Argentinian team-mate Pablo Zabaleta has revealed that the current Ballon d’Or holder often quizzes him about what life is like with Manchester City, but could he be set for a blockbuster move to the Premier League.
Messi’s future with the current Spanish champions has come into question this season following reports of a disagreement between the Argentinian forward and Barcelona’s medical team, although this was rubbished by the player’s management team.
Furthermore, club president Sandro Rosell was forced to deny that the new deal handed to Cristiano Ronaldo worth £14m a year had caused Messi to demand a renegotiation of his own, with his current contract running until 2016 with a £209m release clause.
The speculation regarding the state of his happiness at the Nou Camp has triggered talk of a move away from the club he joined back in 2000 when he became part of the youth set-up, with Bayern Munich, Chelsea and now Manchester City being muted as possible destinations.
And Zabaleta, who joined City in 2008 when he was signed from Espanyol, admits that the two are still close friends from their days in Barcelona and that Messi always quizzes him about the club.
“I remember when we were in Barcelona we were very close friends because we were living in the same city and had known each other for a number of years,” admitted Zabaleta. “I was just starting out at Espanyol and Lionel was at Barça. 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 couldn't tell him much because I didn't know much myself – but it's something we often talk about. Plus the fact that I'm still here.”
With City already securing their qualification for the Champions league last-16 thanks to the win over CSKA Moscow last time out, Zabaleta admits that a potential draw against Barcelona would be one to relish, and feels his club would have a genuine chance at knocking out the club that has claimed the trophy three times in the last eight seasons.
“If we have to face Barca in the Champions League, we will be ready and I think it will be a fantastic game – but we'll wait and see,” he added. “I played against Messi for Espanyol against Barca and I recall in my second season at City when we played in the Nou Camp in the Joan Gamper Trophy and we won 1-0 with a goal from Martin Petrov. So I think we are about level at the moment.”
Following their 6-0 drubbing of Tottenham on Sunday, City sit fourth in the Premier League table, six points off leaders Arsenal, but Zabaleta hasn’t ruled out claiming an unprecedented treble of the Premier League, Champions League and World Cup in the same season.
“I don't know, the good thing is we are in the race for all those trophies and as a player you have to try and win everything you are involved in,” Zabaleta said cautiously.
“There are differences between each competition, of course. The Premier League is over 38 games while the Champions League and World Cup is over 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 it is the biggest prize in England.
“As for the Champions League, we are up against the best teams in Europe and it is a difficult competition to win being realistic. But we will try our best and you never know in football.”
Latest in Sport
Don't mess with me, Diego Costa warns Manchester City ahead of Chelsea clash
Florida State quarter-back Jameis Winston suspended for half-a-game for yelling 'F*** her right in the p****'
West Ham vs Liverpool match report: Reds are caught cold by hot Hammers
Aston Villa vs Arsenal team news: Alexis Sanchez incorrectly named in starting line-up as Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain called up to start
West Ham vs Liverpool player ratings: Winston Reid? Diafra Sakho? Who rated highest from the Hammers' victory?
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 London council removes 'unacceptable' Stamford Hill posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan in new celebrity hacking attack weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'