Zabaleta happy to step back in when asked
- Fri 11 Dec 2009, 11:37AM
- Posted byDave Clayton
Pablo Zabaleta is happy to help push City into the upper reaches of the table in any role that's asked of him.
Despite watching on from the sidelines, the Blues' success on two fronts last week delighted the affable Argentine star, who has become a popular figure with team mates and fans alike since his move to City from Espanyol in August 2008.
“I think we’ve started the season really well and have only lost one game so far, which isn’t bad at all. We’ve got a great chance to challenge at the top of the table and we’ve got some fantastic players in our squad.
“Collectively, I think the last two games have been terrific and we definitely believe we’re good enough to challenge for a place in the top four.”
Zabaleta and Micah Richards have shared right-back duties for most of the season and the competition for places looks set to hot up with Nedum Onuoha back to full fitness, but you won’t find ‘Zaba’ feeling sorry for himself if he is out of the team – far from it.
“I try to smile every day if I can,” he said with a typical broad grin. “Nothing is easy in life and in football there is a lot of pressure on you as a player, but I think outside of the game you have to smile and be thankful for what you have, especially around your family. I always try to be friendly and pleasant and be a good person with everyone I meet.
Collectively, I think the last two games have been terrific and we definitely believe we’re good enough to challenge for a place in the top four.
“When I am in the team, right-back is my natural position because I’ve played there for most of my career, but I’m happy playing in midfield if needed, it’s no problem for me. “
When it comes to international duty, Blues fans remain puzzled as to why Zabaleta remains a peripheral figure in Diego Maradona’s Argentina squad and the City star thinks his chance of forcing his way into the squad for South Africa may have passed.
“I think it will be difficult because I missed the last two World Cup qualifiers against Peru and Uruguay with a hamstring injury,” he said. “I may have missed my chance now. I was unlucky because I picked up the injury against Aston Villa and then flew out to Argentina where they did a scan.
“There was no way I could play so I flew home early. My opportunity may have gone because I wasn’t included in the squad for the recent game with Spain and the match against Catalonia on December 22 – it’s unlucky for me and of course, I would love to play for my country. You never know, but sometimes you have to accept these things in football.”