Zabaleta played with the Saints boss at Espanyol.
"I'd just joined and Mauricio Pochettino was in his last season," Zabaleta told the Manchester Evening News.
"Old players like to tackle young players - he kicked me a few times, maybe!"
He added: "He was a big help.
"We used to drink Mate, an Argentinian drink like tea, together. He helped me with lots of things - people in the club, getting a car. He was very friendly."
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