Pablo Zabaleta to leave Manchester City
- Author: Julie Sanders May 18, 2017,
May 18, 2017, 7:10
For the time being, he is fully focused on ensuring City win both their remaining games, including Sunday's trip to Watford, to finish as high up the table as possible. "The appreciation from the fans has been massive", he told reporters. "When you play against them you understand why they were champions", Guardiola added. That's why it will be a very emotional moment. "I never saw one player in my life go to the pitch and not try to win the game".
Pablo Zabaleta will be handed a hero's send off by Manchester City on Tuesday but there will be no fond farewell for Yaya Toure, who could yet be offered a new deal by the club.
The Argentine, has made well over 300 appearances in a Manchester City shirt since his move from Espanyol back in 2008, the same summer the club was taken over by Sheikh Mansour.
Unlike Zabaleta, who leaves City after nine seasons, Toure is keen to stay on, with Guardiola believing the Ivorian is worth an extra season.
"The first taker was Yaya, but I love it when the players have the personality to take a decision on the pitch", Guardiola said after the match.
"I remember at that time [Sir Alex] Ferguson and the 'noisy neighbours, ' and this is something that I have been since that time!"
"There is much more optimism that the club hasn't had since I've been here and people want to feel that and be part of it".
"Maybe it is the first time I announce it but they have to come to support more than ever and to to express gratitude for one of the most important players in the history of Manchester City". What he and other guys did for the club, helped (make) this club what it is right now. We had to work really hard to become a better club but, after nine years, look where we are today. More than anything it's his passion and his commitment to the club. "We know that it's going to be very tough physically".
"We have not heard anything", he said. "He's in his office, you can go and ask him".
Leicester had a late penalty ruled out in weird circumstances as Manchester City held on for a 2-1 win on Saturday to move into third place in the English Premier League and close in on Champions League qualification.
Pep Guardiola says Gabriel Jesus has plenty to improve on and feels his open-mindedness will allow him to thrive at City.