"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," Zabaleta told City's website.
"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!
"As a player, you have to try and win everything you are involved in. There are differences between each competition, of course.
"The Premier League is over 38 games while the Champions League and World Cup have 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 is the biggest prize in England. As for the Champions League, we are up against the best teams in Europe - but we will try our best and you never know in football."
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