Zabaleta: Bale best in league

Pablo Zabaleta is surrounded by superstars at Manchester City but has named Gareth Bale as the Premier League's best player, describing the Welsh winger as a "force of nature".

Last Updated: 26/03/13 at 18:45 Post Comment

Pablo Zabaleta: Believes Gareth Bale is the best player in the league

Pablo Zabaleta: Believes Gareth Bale is the best player in the league

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Bale has illuminated the division so far this season, scoring 21 goals in 36 appearances in all competitions and helping Andre Villas-Boas's side climb to fourth, with a strong chance of qualifying for the Champions League.

In contrast, many of City's big names have struggled to replicate the form that saw the club crowned champions last season, and Zabaleta believes they are now playing catch-up to Bale.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "The best Premier League player? Gareth Bale, a force of nature."

One man who would have liked to have laid claim to the status of league's best player during his time in England was former City star Mario Balotelli.

The mercurial Italian left Eastlands for AC Milan in a £19million deal during the January transfer window, ending a turbulent two-and-a-half-year stint in Manchester.

The 22-year-old has gone on to make an instant impact at the San Siro, scoring seven goals in six appearances and injecting fresh impetus into the Rossoneri's season.

Zabaleta witnessed all of the highs and lows of Balotelli's City career and believes it was the right decision for him to return home.

The Argentine full-back said: "I think Balotelli's departure was inevitable. It had become a difficult situation.

"Mario is a great player, who must learn to better manage his life off the field. He should be more disciplined and quiet. Returning to Italy and staying near to his family is helping him."

City sit 15 points adrift of arch rivals Manchester United in the Premier League and appear certain to relinquish the title they won so dramatically last May.

Zabaleta is disappointed with the way in which the season has developed, but insisted he has not lost any faith in manager Roberto Mancini.

"My relationship with Mancini is great," he added. "You can talk with him not only about football, but also life problems.

"We [City] must grow as a group and in mentality. United have built a winning culture over the last 20 years, while City's project is at the beginning."

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

F

irst Townsend, now Chiles. What next ITV? Comedy that you can actually watch without vomiting up your own spleen? I'll be sad to see Matt Smith go though. I actually quite like him. Plus, he was good in Doctor Who.

sailingmagpie
Adrian Chiles to leave ITV

H

e's like Jay from Inbetweeners. Could've had him, had him, didn't want him, turned him down.

lee
Wenger criticises work permits

A

wful, awful pundit. He was crap on BBC, and offered a little more analysis than Robbie Savage - apart from the delivery of banality in a sexy accent. Also, as I'm Irish he'll never be more then a slimy, hand-balling f**ker in my eyes.

batdog
Football People On TV: Thierry Henry

Footer 365

Premier League: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet focused on Burnley clash

Gus Poyet has challenged his players to use their match against fellow relegation contenders Burnley as a turning point.

FA Cup: Substitute Diafra Sakho grabs late winner as West Ham earn 1-0 win at Bristol City

Diafra Sakho popped up at the back post to help West Ham secure a 1-0 win at Bristol City in the FA Cup fourth round.

Premier League: Daniel Sturridge expresses delight after returning to Liverpool training

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge spoke of his delight after returning to full training on Sunday.

Mail Box

Appalling, Slow, Pathetic, Embarrassing

It's a bonus Saturday Mailbox, with plenty of reaction to the most alarming 0-0 draw in Manchester United's recent history. At what point do we worry about Louis van Gaal?

Why Do Man United Look So Impotent?

It's all very well talking about formations and United's defensive problems, but shouldn't their expensive attacking options be doing better? And we talk psychology...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company