Man City’s Zabaleta welcomes Barcelona challenge

Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta is eagerly anticipating an action-packed Champions League clash with Barcelona in the knockout phase.
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Manchester City’s Pablo Zabaleta is eagerly anticipating an action-packed Champions League clash with Barcelona in the knockout phase.

City have been drawn against the Catalan giants in the Round of 16 and Argentine defender Zabaleta is looking forward to the challenge of facing compatriot Lionel Messi and co.

"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,” he told the club’s official website.

"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.

"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!"

The first leg takes place at the Etihad Stadium on February 18 with the return bout to be contested at the Nou Camp on March 12.

 
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