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

Watch Manchester City v Manchester United live only on Sky Sports this Super Sunday. 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

Watch Manchester City v Manchester United live only on Sky Sports this Super Sunday. Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

s that Subbuteo's Shaun Wright-Phillips? Crikey, I thought he'd retired. Although I guess 'Only' QPR is like a retirement home.

duckman
The Earl Grey Gossip

C

an we release him in January?

dhirt11
Gerrard: I would leave Anfield

E

xcellent! Not sure if he is any good as a manager (never thought about it) but the 'headbutt in the technical area' and what he said to Pelligrini were just brilliant, it was as if he was trying to recreate the end of the Alan Partridge Xmas special when Alan punched a man in a wheelchair and verbally abused Tony Heirs.

beachend
Football Managers On TV: Alan Pardew

Footer 365

Premier League: Louis Van Gaal confirms Wayne Rooney will captain United in Manchester derby

Louis van Gaal has confirmed Wayne Rooney will play and will captain Manchester United in Sunday's derby against City.

Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus shrugs off transfer talk

Marco Reus insists his future is the last of his concerns amid reports Bayern Munich want to sign the Dortmund ace.

Premier League: Wenger not ruling out Arsenal title bid

Arsene Wenger is not ruling the Gunners out of the title race despite being nine points behind leaders Chelsea.

Mail Box

A Detailed Defence Of Alex Song And...

...lots more in a mailbox that takes in Manuel Pellegrini's woes, Steven Gerrard's future, Carlo Ancelotti, Alan Pardew and Alan Pardew's daughter. A fine read...

Is Ancelotti A Better Boss Than Mourinho?

That's one shout in the mailbox, although not as controversial as the mail imploring Jose Mourinho to sign Steven Gerrard in January so he can win the title he deserves...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property