Pablo Zabaleta is a dynamic defender, the type a team needs in any attempt to win a two-legged UEFA Champions League match-up with FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi. So it bodes well for Manchester City fans that their diminutive back is excited to face his countrymate and old friend.
“I played against Lionel for Espanyol against Barcelona and I recall in my second season at City when we played in the Nou Camp in the Joan Gamper Trophy against Barcelona and we won 1-0 with a goal from Martin Petrov so I think we’re about level at the moment,” Zabaleta said to www.mcfc.com.
“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.”
Barca and City have never squared off in European competition, a fact that should have Blaugrana boss Tata Martino extra wary of the tie with arguably the top unseeded side remaining.
“[It is a] tough draw, but I think they will think the same. It’ll be crucial to be at our best in February. Manuel [Pellegrini] is one of the best coaches in the world [and] City score very easily. It’s too early for an analysis now though.”
NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.
Soccer personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.
If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.
The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.
Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.
Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.
Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.
Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.
Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.
[ MORE: ‘The Moment’ of each PL club’s season ]
The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.
Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.
The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.
The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.
In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.