Manchester City legend Pablo Zabaleta opens up about Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008

David Silva

Former Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta has revealed City squad were convinced the club were going to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Zabaleta was City’s last signing before the takeover of Sheikh Mansour. After which he didn’t waste much time splashing the cash out. Brazilian forward Robinho was signed instantly from Real Madrid.

Zabaleta explained that players thought they would be replaced

Robinho’s arrival was shocking for some players with Zabaleta declaring players were s******* themselves that they soon would be replaced.

He told La Nacion:

“I was seduced by going to England.

“And I thought, ‘I am a couple of years older, I have another experience, and there will be time to go back to Spain or go to Italy.

“Ten days after my transfer, the purchase of the club by the people of Abu Dhabi was executed, and four days later they invested £40million for Robinho.”

“And there I said. ‘Now what do I do? I’m going to last six months here!

“We took it a bit as a joke and to the free lockers in the locker room we started putting Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, we were s****ing ourselves.”

Zabaleta’s thought of joining Messi almost came true in 2017 after City offered £100m to Barcelona for the Argentine. But Messi signed a new deal in 2021 when City again tried to sign him for free but he ended up joining Paris Saint-Germain.

While Ronaldo also came close to joining City later in the summer of 2021 but the deal was hijacked by Manchester United due to intervention from Sir Alex Ferguson.

City have continued to splash money on signings and are recognized as one of Europe’s top clubs. But they at yet to win the Champions League title, the latest they came close was in 2021 when they were defeated by Chelsea in the final. However, they are favorites to lift the cup this campaign.

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