Zabaleta: ‘I was close to Roma’

Pablo Zabaleta admits he was close to joining Roma two years ago and “would enjoy an experience playing in Italy.”

The veteran defender is currently at West Ham United and sat down with Sky Sport Italia to discuss his many years with Manchester City.

“The Champions League is a very important for Manchester City, as they’ve won everything else and have so much quality at their disposal that it is a possibility,” said the 33-year-old.

“When Roberto Mancini was at Manchester City, we had a fitness coach who didn’t speak English, so I had to try to communicate with him in Italian and that’s how I improved my grasp of the language.

“I was close to Roma two years ago. They had offered me a three-year contract. I thought it could be a great experience, but those were the years when Pep Guardiola had arrived in Manchester and he said that he wanted me there.

“After so many years at City, I made a choice with my heart and decided to remain. I have always thought that I’d enjoy an experience playing in Italy, though.”

This evening, Napoli are up against Liverpool at the Stadio San Paolo in the Champions League.

“I played at the San Paolo and there is a special atmosphere there. Liverpool are a strong side and Napoli will have to work really hard in defence, but they could win tonight.”

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