City's Copa America: Zabaleta's brighter outlook
- 29 June 2011 13:44
- Posted by Peter Ferguson
Pablo Zabaleta goes into Argentina's Copa America challenge with a huge weight off his mind and a big "thank you" to his devoted army of Blues fans on Twitter.
Zaba's domestic season might have finished in FA Cup-winning triumph but it was horrifically interrupted when his father was seriously injured in a car accident in March.
He and girlfriend Christel flew the 7,000 miles to where Jorge lay in a coma, clinging to life with head and chest injuries, before Pablo ended his compassionate leave for the vital run-in.
Zaba said: "It was a difficult decision, but football is my career and we were in a great moment. I wanted to be there for the Final and to be with the team for that part of the season.
“I have to say 'thank you' to the City fans, because many of them followed me on Twitter and left some great tweets of support to me and my family. They are still asking how my father is doing.
My dad is getting better, probably he will need two more months of rehabilitation to go out of the clinic
Zaba now hopes to be able to show his recuperating dad a Copa America winner's medal to go alongside the FA Cup medal the big-hearted fans' favourite earned against Stoke in May.
Coach Sergio Batista in no way held him responsible for an embarrassing 4-1 warm-up defeat in Abuja by Nigeria in which Zabaleta proudly captained an understrength Argentine line-up.
There was far more fall-out over unusual betting patterns leading up to Argentina's consolation goal, a dubious 98th-minute penalty awarded after the referee had signalled five added minutes.